With the silver win in the men’s 5000-metre race, Ahmed becomes the all-time North American record holder for distance.
By Maryam Razzaq
Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed wins silver in the men’s 5000-metre race in the Tokyo Olympics.
Although Mohammed Ahmed was in the middle of the pack for most of the race, he finished off with a sprint on the last lap to win a silver medal for Team Canada.
Ahmed challenged Joshua Cheptegei, the world record holder in the 5000-metre race for the gold medal but was not able to catch up to the Ugandan winner. Though, Ahmed was a very close second as Cheptegei finished at 12 minutes, 58.16 seconds, whereas Ahmed finished at 12 minutes, 58.61 seconds. A difference of only 0.45 seconds between the gold and silver winners.
“I did not think this race was going to be fast. I thought they were just going to let it go. But Joshua came to play tonight. The real Joshua, that’s when he runs the best when he’s up front, when he dictates the pace,” Ahmed shared following his win.
Ahmed’s silver win is the first Olympic medal in the men’s 5,000-metre for Canada.
30-year-old Ahmed was born in Somalia and grew up in St. Catherine’s, Ontario and has taken over the global scene for Canadian distance runners in the last few years. He won a bronze medal in the 5000-metre race at the 2019 world championships in Doha, Qatar. In 2020,Ahmed shaved 11 seconds off his own Canadian record when he ran 12:47:20 seconds in a stunning performance in Portland, where trains year round with the Bowerman Track Club.
Ahmed had also run in the 10,000-metre race at the Olympics this year and was leading until he faded in the last 300 metres and finished sixth.
“With 200m to go I thought if I fought a little bit harder and found some strength, I could have got a medal there, too. It’s just the way that it goes. I just did what I had to do to try and pick myself up. Coaching staff, medical time, everyone did what they had to do to get me ready,” shared Ahmed after coming in sixth place for the 10,000-metre race at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ahmed is the first Canadian to have won a medal in the 5,000-metre race and is also a two-time silver medallist at the Commonwealth Games for the 5,000 and 10,000 metre races. He has competed at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and holds the eleventh fastest 5,000-m in history.
“I’m elated. I was off the podium five years ago, and it’s not been an easy five years for me. There’s been mental checks, a lot of doubt and uncertainty. I put a lot of work into this, and in the last 150 (metres) that’s what I was thinking about,” Ahmed shared after the race.