Athlete Profile

Abraham Chebii

  • COUNTRY Kenya Kenya
  • DATE OF BIRTH 23 DEC 1979
Abraham Chebii takes the 5000m in Rome (Getty Images)
Abraham Chebii takes the 5000m in Rome (Getty Images)
  • COUNTRY Kenya Kenya
  • DATE OF BIRTH 23 DEC 1979


Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.


Abraham Kosgei CHEBII (chehBEE), Kenya (3000m/5000m/cross country)

Born 23 Dec. 1979, Kaptabuk, near Kapsowar, Marakwet Dist., Rift Valley Prov., Kenya

Completed Marakwet High School 1997.

Lives mainly in Eldoret.

Married Sally Jepchumba 2002; children Nixon (2003), Victoria (2005)

Manager: KIMbia (Tom Ratcliffe).  Coach: Dieter Hogen.

Native language: Marakwet (Kalenjin). Third of seven children. Father small-scale farmer.

Began running in secondary school, mainly 800m and 1500m, with modest success (10th in provincial championship in final year of high school). An excellent student, he was granted a place in Kenyatta University in Nairobi but was unable to enroll for lack of fees. Inspired by success of local boy Moses Kiptanui, he decided to try to make a living as a runner. Stayed with relatives in the running center Iten for three months from August 1998, training with established athletes two or three times a day. Entered a few open cross country meets in December; placed 4th in Fila Discovery junior race in Eldoret in January 1999 and was approached by Kiptanui himself, offering to take him to train with KIM athletes in Nyahururu on the other side of the Rift Valley.

Injured before 1999 cross country nationals. Recovered in time for track season. Signed by KIM and taken to Europe for six minor races at 3000m and 5000m that summer and then to Australia for winter training. Followed similar pattern next three years, with somewhat higher quality races but few victories and few top times. Also made two appearances at World Cross Country Championships with mixed results (5th at 4 km 2000; 24th at 4 km  2002). In last race of 2002 season, the GP Final in Paris, followed plodding pace in rabbitless 3000m (winning time: 8:33.42) for seven laps, then took off with 250 to go, outkicking super-kicker Paul Bitok and five other fast-finishing Kenyans to win $50,000 first-place money.

In late autumn, altered training to improve ability to stay with fast pace and finish still faster. After quick-kicking wins in first three GPs of 2003, tested new training in Oslo GL 5000 against Kenenisa Bekele, staying with 13-minute pace and streaking to the front shortly after the bell. Held lead into home straight but tied up badly and finished 4th (in PB 12:52.99) behind Kenenisa and Kenyans Sammy Kipketer and Eliud Kipchoge. A week later, in Paris, followed famous kick of Haile Gebrselassie with faster one of his own, leaving the "Emperor" nearly a second adrift (12:53.37 to 12:54.36), and a week after that blew past both Haile and Kenenisa in Rome (12:57.14).

Won Kenya's loaded World Championships trials 5000 decisively (13:24.8 at 1500m altitude) for his seventh victory in eight races (losing only Oslo), but aggravated a left calf injury that continued to bother him for the rest of the track season. Didn't win another race in 2003, biggest disappointment being 5th place finish in Paris World Championships.

Began 2004 promisingly with victory over Kipchoge in Spain's Elgoibar Cross Country and stormed to victory over 4km in Kenya's World Cross trials. Developed knee problem after trials. Pulled out of Cinque Mulini cross country in early March and wound up 19th in Kenya’s humiliating 3rd place team finish in Brussels World Cross 4 km.

The knee had recovered by the middle of the 2004 track season, but Chebii showed little of his 2003 explosiveness. After finishing a conservative 3rd in Kenya’s Olympic trials 5000 (13:27.8), he dawdled through the distance in Rome (12th in 13:08.40, nearly 22 seconds off Kipchoge’s winning time) and Zurich (5th in 13:08.01). Early reports from the Kenyan training camp were positive—all three 5000 men pushing hard and keeping up. But in speed drills shortly before flying to Athens, Chebii injured his calf again. He hobbled through his 5000 heat and qualified but says he wouldn’t have started the final if it had not been the Olympics. He dropped out half-way through the race. His calf seemed well enough to enter the World Athletics Final 3000m, but he was unable to stick with even the unrabbited pace and finished 9th in 7:54.86.

After a winter’s recovery and training, Chebii seems back in form, qualifying comfortably (4th place) at 4 km in Kenya’s World Cross trials. But the probable heavy going in St. Etienne/St. Galmier is not likely to suit his preferred fast finish. He may have to wait for track season for a true test of his recovery.

Yearly progression 3000/ 5000/ 10,000:  1999 - 7:45.29/ 13:30.41/ 28:01.63;  2000 - 7:45.63/ 13:01.9/ 28:23.95;  2001 - 7:40.30/ 13:12.53/ 27:04.20;  2002 - 7:36.11/ 12:58.98;  2003 - 7:45.21/ 12:52.99;  2004 - 7:42.52/ 13:08.01. Other PBs: 1500 - 3:38.5 (2004); mile - 3:55.31 (2000); 10 km - 27:26 (2001).

Abraham Chebii may be the most explosive kicker in recent distance running history. Even in an era in which a top-class 5000 runner has to be able to close a 13:00 race with a 55 second last lap, Chebii stands out. In the Grand Prix Final at the end of the 2002 season, he clocked 50.68 for his last 400 meters, and he didn't start his full sprint until 250 to go. As he says, however, "It is easy to kick when the pace is slow. You must be able to follow a fast pace and then kick." Which is what he trained himself to do over the 2002-2003 off-season. The most convincing evidence of that training's effectiveness came in the Rome GL, where Haile Gebrselassie, having been outsprinted by Chebii in Paris, started driving for home from 600 meters out, with Kenenisa Bekele and Chebii in tow. Haile was spent by the final turn and moved wide to let Kenenisa through, but Chebii slipped through the gap as well and bounded after the sprinting Kenenisa. He passed the Ethiopian with 50 to go and was timed at sub-25 for his last 200 -- in a 12:57 race.

Prepared by John Manners for the IAAF  Focus on Africans project. © IAAF  2003-2005.

Personal Best - Outdoor
Performance Wind Place Date
1500 Metres 3:38.5 Nairobi 18 JUN 2004
One Mile 3:55.31 London (BP) 04 JUN 2000
2000 Metres 5:04.28 Villeneuve-d'Ascq 08 JUN 2007
3000 Metres 7:33.42 Monaco 20 AUG 2006
Two Miles 8:18.06 Eugene, OR 28 MAY 2006
5000 Metres 12:52.99 Oslo 27 JUN 2003
10,000 Metres 27:04.20 Palo Alto, CA 04 MAY 2001
10 Kilometres 27:26 Mobile, AL 24 MAR 2001
15 Kilometres 42:40 Ostia 27 FEB 2011
Half Marathon 1:00:07 Ostia 27 FEB 2011
5 Kilometres 13:23 Carlsbad, CA 01 APR 2001
Personal Best - Indoor
Performance Wind Place Date
2000 Metres 5:04.55 Stockholm 21 FEB 2008
3000 Metres 7:38.63 Stockholm 21 FEB 2008
Two Miles 8:13.28 Birmingham, GBR 16 FEB 2008
Progression - Outdoor showShow All Graphs
1500 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2006 3:42.19 Shanghai 23 SEP
2004 3:38.5 Nairobi 18 JUN
2000 3:39.76 Loughborough 21 MAY
One Mile Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2000 3:55.31 London (BP) 04 JUN
2000 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2007 5:04.28 Villeneuve-d'Ascq 08 JUN
3000 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2010 7:48.50 Dakar 24 APR
2009 7:41.43 Gateshead 31 AUG
2008 7:36.08 Monaco 29 JUL
2007 7:36.74 Rieti 09 SEP
2006 7:33.42 Monaco 20 AUG
2005 7:56.72 Zürich 19 AUG
2004 7:42.52 Doha 14 MAY
2003 7:39.28 Monaco 13 SEP
2002 7:36.11 Monaco 19 JUL
2001 7:40.30 Lausanne 04 JUL
2000 7:45.63 Paris Saint-Denis 23 JUN
1999 7:45.29 Malmö 02 AUG
Two Miles Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2007 8:24.58 Hengelo 26 MAY
2006 8:18.06 Eugene, OR 28 MAY
5000 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2010 13:03.11 Rabat 06 JUN
2009 13:01.08 Berlin 14 JUN
2008 13:07.88 Roma (Stadio Olimpico) 11 JUL
2007 12:59.63 Bruxelles 14 SEP
2006 13:04.24 Stockholm 25 JUL
2005 13:22.53 Ostrava 09 JUN
2004 13:08.01 Zürich 06 AUG
2003 12:52.99 Oslo 27 JUN
2002 12:58.98 Zürich 16 AUG
2001 13:12.53 Oslo 13 JUL
2000 13:01.9 Milano 07 JUN
1999 13:30.41 Cork 19 JUN
10,000 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2001 27:04.20 Palo Alto, CA 04 MAY
2000 28:23.95 Melbourne 04 DEC
1999 28:01.63 Melbourne 06 DEC
10 Kilometres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2011 28:20 Ostia 27 FEB
2009 27:47 Brunssum 29 MAR
2007 28:33 Dongio 09 APR
2006 28:06 New Orleans, LA 15 APR
2001 27:26 Mobile, AL 24 MAR
15 Kilometres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2011 42:40 Ostia 27 FEB
Half Marathon Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2011 1:00:07 Ostia 27 FEB
5 Kilometres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2001 13:23 Carlsbad, CA 01 APR
Progression - Indoor showShow All Graphs
2000 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2008 5:04.55 Stockholm 21 FEB
3000 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2008 7:38.63 Stockholm 21 FEB
Two Miles Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2008 8:13.28 Birmingham, GBR 16 FEB
Honours - 3000 Metres
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
6th IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final 8 8:05.87 Stuttgart 13 SEP 2008
2nd IAAF World Athletics Final 9 7:54.86 Monaco 18 SEP 2004
1st IAAF World Athletics Final 3 7:39.28 Monaco 13 SEP 2003
18th IAAF Grand Prix Final 1 8:33.42 Paris (Charléty) 14 SEP 2002
Honours - 5000 Metres
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final 9 13:35.59 Thessaloniki 13 SEP 2009
28th Olympic Games f DNF Athína (Olympic Stadium) 28 AUG 2004
9th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 5 12:57.74 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 31 AUG 2003
Honours - Short Race
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
33rd IAAF World Cross Country Championships 2 11:38 Saint - Galmier 19 MAR 2005
32nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships 19 11:59 Bruxelles 20 MAR 2004
30th IAAF/Sport Ireland World Cross Country Championships 24 12:45 Dublin 23 MAR 2002
28th World Cross Country Championships 5 11:25 Vilamoura 18 MAR 2000


Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.


Abraham Kosgei CHEBII (chehBEE), Kenya (3000m/5000m/cross country)

Born 23 Dec. 1979, Kaptabuk, near Kapsowar, Marakwet Dist., Rift Valley Prov., Kenya

Completed Marakwet High School 1997.

Lives mainly in Eldoret.

Married Sally Jepchumba 2002; children Nixon (2003), Victoria (2005)

Manager: KIMbia (Tom Ratcliffe).  Coach: Dieter Hogen.

Native language: Marakwet (Kalenjin). Third of seven children. Father small-scale farmer.

Began running in secondary school, mainly 800m and 1500m, with modest success (10th in provincial championship in final year of high school). An excellent student, he was granted a place in Kenyatta University in Nairobi but was unable to enroll for lack of fees. Inspired by success of local boy Moses Kiptanui, he decided to try to make a living as a runner. Stayed with relatives in the running center Iten for three months from August 1998, training with established athletes two or three times a day. Entered a few open cross country meets in December; placed 4th in Fila Discovery junior race in Eldoret in January 1999 and was approached by Kiptanui himself, offering to take him to train with KIM athletes in Nyahururu on the other side of the Rift Valley.

Injured before 1999 cross country nationals. Recovered in time for track season. Signed by KIM and taken to Europe for six minor races at 3000m and 5000m that summer and then to Australia for winter training. Followed similar pattern next three years, with somewhat higher quality races but few victories and few top times. Also made two appearances at World Cross Country Championships with mixed results (5th at 4 km 2000; 24th at 4 km  2002). In last race of 2002 season, the GP Final in Paris, followed plodding pace in rabbitless 3000m (winning time: 8:33.42) for seven laps, then took off with 250 to go, outkicking super-kicker Paul Bitok and five other fast-finishing Kenyans to win $50,000 first-place money.

In late autumn, altered training to improve ability to stay with fast pace and finish still faster. After quick-kicking wins in first three GPs of 2003, tested new training in Oslo GL 5000 against Kenenisa Bekele, staying with 13-minute pace and streaking to the front shortly after the bell. Held lead into home straight but tied up badly and finished 4th (in PB 12:52.99) behind Kenenisa and Kenyans Sammy Kipketer and Eliud Kipchoge. A week later, in Paris, followed famous kick of Haile Gebrselassie with faster one of his own, leaving the "Emperor" nearly a second adrift (12:53.37 to 12:54.36), and a week after that blew past both Haile and Kenenisa in Rome (12:57.14).

Won Kenya's loaded World Championships trials 5000 decisively (13:24.8 at 1500m altitude) for his seventh victory in eight races (losing only Oslo), but aggravated a left calf injury that continued to bother him for the rest of the track season. Didn't win another race in 2003, biggest disappointment being 5th place finish in Paris World Championships.

Began 2004 promisingly with victory over Kipchoge in Spain's Elgoibar Cross Country and stormed to victory over 4km in Kenya's World Cross trials. Developed knee problem after trials. Pulled out of Cinque Mulini cross country in early March and wound up 19th in Kenya’s humiliating 3rd place team finish in Brussels World Cross 4 km.

The knee had recovered by the middle of the 2004 track season, but Chebii showed little of his 2003 explosiveness. After finishing a conservative 3rd in Kenya’s Olympic trials 5000 (13:27.8), he dawdled through the distance in Rome (12th in 13:08.40, nearly 22 seconds off Kipchoge’s winning time) and Zurich (5th in 13:08.01). Early reports from the Kenyan training camp were positive—all three 5000 men pushing hard and keeping up. But in speed drills shortly before flying to Athens, Chebii injured his calf again. He hobbled through his 5000 heat and qualified but says he wouldn’t have started the final if it had not been the Olympics. He dropped out half-way through the race. His calf seemed well enough to enter the World Athletics Final 3000m, but he was unable to stick with even the unrabbited pace and finished 9th in 7:54.86.

After a winter’s recovery and training, Chebii seems back in form, qualifying comfortably (4th place) at 4 km in Kenya’s World Cross trials. But the probable heavy going in St. Etienne/St. Galmier is not likely to suit his preferred fast finish. He may have to wait for track season for a true test of his recovery.

Yearly progression 3000/ 5000/ 10,000:  1999 - 7:45.29/ 13:30.41/ 28:01.63;  2000 - 7:45.63/ 13:01.9/ 28:23.95;  2001 - 7:40.30/ 13:12.53/ 27:04.20;  2002 - 7:36.11/ 12:58.98;  2003 - 7:45.21/ 12:52.99;  2004 - 7:42.52/ 13:08.01. Other PBs: 1500 - 3:38.5 (2004); mile - 3:55.31 (2000); 10 km - 27:26 (2001).

Abraham Chebii may be the most explosive kicker in recent distance running history. Even in an era in which a top-class 5000 runner has to be able to close a 13:00 race with a 55 second last lap, Chebii stands out. In the Grand Prix Final at the end of the 2002 season, he clocked 50.68 for his last 400 meters, and he didn't start his full sprint until 250 to go. As he says, however, "It is easy to kick when the pace is slow. You must be able to follow a fast pace and then kick." Which is what he trained himself to do over the 2002-2003 off-season. The most convincing evidence of that training's effectiveness came in the Rome GL, where Haile Gebrselassie, having been outsprinted by Chebii in Paris, started driving for home from 600 meters out, with Kenenisa Bekele and Chebii in tow. Haile was spent by the final turn and moved wide to let Kenenisa through, but Chebii slipped through the gap as well and bounded after the sprinting Kenenisa. He passed the Ethiopian with 50 to go and was timed at sub-25 for his last 200 -- in a 12:57 race.

Prepared by John Manners for the IAAF  Focus on Africans project. © IAAF  2003-2005.