Refugee runner Tachlowini Gabriyesos in top 20 at Tokyo 2020 marathon: "Everything is possible"

Gabriyesos' incredible journey continues as he shines at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics marathon.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Tachlowini Gabriyesos is running for refugees everywhere and proved what a talent he is, finishing 16th in the Olympic marathon at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

The 23-year-old was chosen as the IOC Refugee Team flag bearer at the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony, and had another unforgettable moment on Sunday (8 August) clocking 2:14.02 to finish in the top 20 on the greatest sporting stage there is.

Eliud Kipchoge delivered yet another running masterclass in 2:08.38 in sweltering conditions in Tokyo, with Tachlowini proving he belongs in the world's elite.

Long distances, physical endurance, and positive thinking are innate parts of Gabriyesos' make-up: he escaped a life-threatening situation in Eritrea at only 12 years of age and walked across a desert to get to Israel where he now trains.

A love for running and athletics have helped him overcome impossible odds, and hard work has made him a formidable runner.

He ran a 2:10:55 marathon at Hula Lake Park in Israel on 14 March 2021, becoming the first refugee athlete to make the Olympic marathon qualifying standard.

Now he's proved that he can keep pace with the best in the world, representing and inspiring the millions of displaced people across the world.

"I want to show others that everything is possible"

"The Olympics is my dream as a professional athlete and it would be a great honour to be part of the [IOC] Refugee Olympic Team," he said while training before the Games.

In June he learned that his dream would come true as his name was in the list of the 29-strong IOC Refugee Team that competed in Tokyo.

More joy followed as he proudly flew the refugee team flag at the Opening Ceremony.

The run-up to the Tokyo Games wasn't easy for Gabriyesos as the pandemic made training impossible at times, and at the Doha Worlds in 2019 he spent 27 hours in the airport because of visa issues, ending any chance at a challenge.

But his unstoppably positive attitude takes him through the hardest of times, always looking forward, always dreaming big.

"I think I'm in better shape than I was last year,” he told World Athletics in May 2021, “but physically and mentally it was hard to train with the pandemic restrictions."

Now he's shown the world what he can do and at 23 he'll only get better. This isn't the last we'll see of Tachlowini Gabriyesos, look out for him at Paris 2024.

"I want to show others that everything is possible and they shouldn't give up."


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