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Going the Distance

29-year-old Mohammed Ahmed of St. Catharines, Ont. proved he’s among the best in the world with his bronze-medal performance in the 5,000m at the 2019 World Championships. Olympic glory was now within his sights, and on Friday, August 6 he finally did it

Moh Ahmed heard the whispers loudly: “Moh is an also-ran.” “Moh can run fast but he can’t win a major championship medal.” “Moh can’t kick.” The negative words had an effect.

Despite winning a pair of silver medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and setting national records at distances from 3,000m to 10,000m, he would be left behind at the bell, unable to sprint with the world’s best. How much longer, he wondered, could he continue making the necessary sacrifices required to chase a major medal?

Everything changed for Ahmed last October when he captured the 5,000m bronze medal at the iaaf World Athletics Championships in Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium. As he draped himself in the Canadian flag, grinning broadly, the relief was palpable. Forgotten were the tears he shed after a crushing fourth-place finish in the 2016 Rio Olympics 5,000m final. The encouraging words of Jerry Schumacher, his coach at the Bowerman Track Club for the past five years, rang true. Yes, he can win medals at the highest level. Yes, he can be a formidable presence on the world stage.

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