Canada’s greatest distance runner, Mohammed Ahmed, has accomplished his dream and won a silver medal in the 5,000m at the Tokyo Olympics. This is Ahmed’s first medal at an Olympic Games and it is Canada’s first-ever medal in the 5,000m. Years of hard work have paid off for the St. Catharines, Ont. native.
World record holder and 10,000m silver medalist Joshua Cheptegei from Uganda takes home the gold in 12:58.15 and Paul Chelimo of the U.S. wins bronze in 12:59.05. Ahmed’s time was 12:58.61.
Canadian Justyn Knight was in the mix for a majority of the race but ultimately finished 7th in a time of 13:04.38 in his Olympic debut. Knight was the first to congratulate his fellow countrymen on his accomplishment as he crossed the finish line.
The race became tactical early, on as the pack hammered out 62-second laps around the humid track. A pack of 10 runners formed into the lead, going into the final lap of the 12.5 lap race. Ahmed was in sixth place, but had some gas left in the tank to close on the runners ahead. With 100m to go, Ahmed surged past Chelimo and Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda, finishing in a time of 12:58.61. Cheptegei who led for the majority of the race, kept the pace swift in attempt to tire out the sit and kick specialists Mohammed Katir and Knight. Spain’s Katir looked to be grimacing and hanging on to the lead pack by a thread with three laps to go. It wasn’t in the cards for the Spaniard as the experienced distance specialists surged on towards glory.
Ahmed came agonizingly close to medalling in the 10,000m, leading during the final lap but running out of gas in the final few hundred metres to finish sixth. Canadian fans worried that his chances of medalling in the 5,000m might be jeopardized by the order of events, with the more demanding of the two being scheduled first. Ahmed was motivated, no doubt, by memories of his oh-so-close fourth-place finish in Rio. This silver medal is all the sweeter for that.
You can view full results, here.