Athlete Spotlight: Yasemin Can

Athlete Spotlight: Yasemin Can

January 11, 2019 0 By jegmar

Last weekend, Turkey’s Yasemin Can went largely unchallenged in producing a convincing victory at the IAAF Cross Country Permit Campaccio-International. She broke away less than 3km into the race and extended her lead through to the end, finishing the 6km race with a 16-second margin to the nearest rival.


Born in Kenya as Vivian Jemutai, she transferred allegiance to Turkey in 2016 and went on to achieve immediate success. In July that year, she won the 5000m/10000m double at the European Championships in Amsterdam, winning both races by a comfortable margin. She finished 7th in the famous Rio Olympic 10000m final, where Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia) smashed the world record by 14 seconds. Can confirmed her status as Europe’s top runner over this distance by claiming her first victory at the European Cross Country Championships that December.


2017 was a largely disappointing year for Can after the successes of 2016. The highlight on the track came in the 3000m at the European Indoor Championships, taking home the silver medal, but losing out to Laura Muir of Great Britain. Once again, she showed her class over cross country by storming to another gold medal at the European Championships, becoming only the second woman after Ireland’s Fionnuala Britton to achieve the feat.

2018 & 2019

Despite picking up two Diamond League victories early in the season, Can was underwhelming at the 2018 European Championships, finishing third in the 5000m and failing to medal in the 10000m. Having failed to reach the heights of 2016 two years in a row, she returned to form last month by completing a hat-trick of European Cross Country titles. Can continued to show she’s one of the world’s top cross country runners at the weekend in Italy and will hope to carry this form through to the World Cross Country Championships in March, where she will no doubt be hoping to be in the mix for the medals.

Career Highlights

Jun ’16: Rome Diamond League 5000m – 14:37.61
Jul ’16: European Championships 5000m & 10000m 🥇
Aug ‘16: Rio Olympic Games 5000m – 6th
Aug ‘16: Rio Olympic Games 10000m – 7th – 30:26.41
Dec ’16: European Cross Country Championships 🥇
Mar ’17: European Indoor Championships 3000m 🥈
Jun ’17: Rome Diamond League 5000m – 14:36.82
Jul ’17: European U23 Championships 5000m & 10000m🥇
Aug ‘17: World Championships 5000m – 8th in Heat
Aug ‘17: World Championships 10000m – 11th in Heat
Dec ’17: European Cross Country Championships 🥇
May ’18: Birmingham Diamond League 3000m & 5000m 🥇
Aug ’18: European Championships 5000m 🥉 & 10000m – 5th

Recent Results

Oct ’18: University of Eldoret Cross Country Championships – 6th
Nov ’18: Istanbul 15K 🥇 – 48:18
Nov’ 18: Wareng Cross Country, Eldoret – 15th
Dec ’18: European Cross Country Championships 🥇
Jan ’19: Campaccio-International Cross Country 🥇