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Mohammed Ahmed won the medal he’d been hunting for years

After years of hard work and a fourth-place finish at the Olympics, Ahmed's World Championship medal feels validating

Mohammed Ahmed

Mohammed Ahmed had a fantastic 2019 World Championships. He won a historic bronze medal for Canada in the 5,000m, and broke his own Canadian record and a huge barrier to run a 26:59.35 in the 10,000m. Ahmed is very happy with his season and says that his accomplishments feels relieving more than anything. “It feels good, it’s something I’ve been working really hard towards. It feels like I got the monkey off my back.”

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RELATED: Mohammed Ahmed breaks his own national record in 10,000m in Doha

Ahmed trains with the Bowerman Track Club, one of the most successful clubs in the world. He says that medals are pretty common around their group, and he’s excited to have one now too. “Over the past four years, many of my teammates were able to deliver medals, so I was one of the only ones who hadn’t. Watching my teammates do those things I thought: man, I’d like to do that as well. This medal feels validating.” Ahmed had come so close before, finishing fourth at the Rio Olympics, but was never able to land himself on the podium.

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The multi-time Canadian record-holder says that he’s been ready for performances like this for a long time. “More than anything, I’m very proud of how I executed the race [5,000m]. My plan was to take it with three laps to go. I had been a passenger in races in the past, but at Worlds I wasn’t willing to be a passenger any more.”

RELATED: Mohammed Ahmed wins 5,000m bronze at World Championships

The 5,000m involved a shocking number of pace changes for Ahmed. “I fell back and then re-accelerated to get into medal position–that’s something I’m really proud of. That last gear was born out of desire. From what I can recall, I thought about all of the times I staggered down the backstretch and finished fifth or sixth. I attacked it as hard as I could and I found something.”

Ahmed says his experience in Doha has been positive, despite the extremely warm weather. “I’ve never experienced heat like that in my life. I was wondering how people live there.”

Ahmed was determined to snag a medal, and he’s thrilled with his accomplishment. “I’ve had it in my mind to get a medal for a really long time and I’m so excited it’s finally happened.” But there is no complacency in Ahmed’s tone–he’s got his eyes on Tokyo and putting himself in the conversation for a medal there. The Canadian isn’t looking to be good, he’s looking to be great and his World Championship bronze medal is a huge step in the right direction.