Tag Archives: Bashir Abdi

Abdi Nageeye: Victory at the New York City Marathon Would Inspire Somalis and Refugees

Abdi Nageeye captured hearts worldwide with his Olympic marathon silver at the Tokyo 2020 which also resonated with refugee communities.

The celebrations spread across the Netherlands, his adopted home after escaping war in Somalia, and in Kenya, the long-distance powerhouse where he honed his running career.

The Tokyo silver was the Netherlands’ second-ever medal in the Olympic marathon event and another example for Kenya’s High-Altitude Training Camp to boast about.

My target is to win. I really believe now that I can – Abdi Nageeye ahead of the 2021 New York City Marathon

On November 7, the Dutch runner will pound the streets of the New York City Marathon for the first time seeking to end his season with a victory to add to his cherished Olympic medal, after proving that he can run with ‘the best in the world’.

“My target is to win. I really believe now that I’m good in the race where you have a championship field, where you aim for the podium. I have good sprints and confidence,” he told Olympics.com from his home in Eldoret, Kenya.

But, even more important for Nageeye, is cementing his role as a huge inspiration for the younger generations in Somalia.

Olympic silver medalist Abdi Nageeye celebrates crossing the finish line at Tokyo 2020. Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Abdi Nageeye: From Somalia to the Netherlands

Aged six, Abdi Nageeye left Somalia with his brother for the Netherlands. After a four-year stint in Europe, the siblings left for Syria and returned home to Somalia. It wasn’t long before the teenager resettled back in the Netherlands with his adopted family via Ethiopia.

Like most boys, the young teen enjoyed playing football. One day, he laced up his running shoes for a 5km run, which he completed in a relatively fast 17 minutes.

That was in 2006. He turned out to be a good runner and was encouraged to exploit his new interest. A year later he debuted for the Netherlands, in a junior race, at the European Cross-Country Championships.

That marked the start of an athletics career that has seen Nageeye compete at European and World Championships, two Olympic Games and run marathons in major cities.

His national record and personal best of 2:06.17 at the 2019 Amsterdam Marathon remains ‘one of the best days’ of his life.

“That race gave me a lot of confidence. I ran that race with an injury from 33km, a lot of cramping on my hamstring. And it’s that confidence that I had until the Olympics,” he recalled of the race where he placed fourth.

Abdi Nageeye: The Olympic lesson in Rio and the medal in Tokyo

The run in Amsterdam fanned his ambition of making the podium at a major championship.

“I knew I was able to do something. I never showed it at the [2018] European Championships, I didn’t prepare smart enough, but I knew I was able to run well and to win major marathons. But people want to receive the result at the finish line, and I was not able to do it.”

His Rio 2016 experience, where he finished 11th, counted for something when he lined up for the Olympic marathon in Sapporo.

When Eliud Kipchoge confirmed his greatness by clinching his second consecutive Olympic gold,only Nageeye came close.

Gold medalist Eliud Kipchoge of Team Kenya (L) hugs silver medalist Abdi Nageeye of Team Netherlands (R) after completing the men’s Olympic marathon in Japan. Picture by 2021 Getty Images

As they had done many times in training in Kaptagat, when he trained with Kipchoge, and his renowned coach Patrick Sang, the Dutch runner followed his lead when he broke away from the pack around the 30km mark.

“I knew I had this big chance with the whole world watching and I said I will show them what I can do.”- Abdi Nageeye on the silver at Tokyo 2020.

He created a near-perfect race, though it was a long and hard chase behind Kipchoge, his efforts were rewarded. Abdi took an Olympic silver medal with a season’s best time of 2:09:58.

“It was a long journey, the preparations… there were three Kenyans and three Ethiopians who are normally very strong…Then, there I was at the finish line, number two. It was a good feeling!”

The 32-year-old was cheered to the line in Sapporo by Kipchoge.

“When I was crossing the finish line, I was like, ‘We did it!’”

Abdi Nageeye: Inspirational legacy from Eliud Kipchoge

Nageeye may have shifted his training base to Iten, considered the cradle of Kenyan long-distance training, but the values he picked up from Eliud Kipchoge remain.

“He’s the greatest! Nobody can argue with that, he’s the greatest! From Eliud, I learned to take my time and focus on the progress. I learned the importance of discipline.”

Nageeye now trains remotely with Gary Lough, the coach of four-time Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah.

The British coach also coaches Somali-born Belgian Bashir Abdi who edged past Kenyan Lawrence Cherono in the home stretch for bronze at the Olympics.

“The whole of Somalia was watching us at that moment, and they were talking about us. Most of them started running because of Mo Farah and many will start now because of me and Bashir.”

It has been 13 weeks since the epic Olympic race and Nageeye is on the entry list for the New York City Marathon, looking to capitalise on his newfound fame and form.

“I think I will be in good shape as it is more of a championship race, if I was trying to run 2:04 [below the course record], it would not be possible. I’ll be ready.”

The Dutch half-marathon record holder who lives in the running town of Eldoret is giving himself every shot.

“I’m good in the race where you have this championship field, where you are just aiming for the podium. I have good sprints, confidence, I’m training well until now, so my goal really is to win this race.”

Abdi Nageeye: Motivation to be the best

The second-fastest man over the marathon Kenenisa Bekele leads the men’s field in the 2021 New York City Marathon that includes a handful of previous podium finishers.

Ethiopia’s Girma Bekele Gebre, third in 2019, and the 2016 New York champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie of Eritrea are both considered top-three contenders.

“I am just hearing one or two names but I’m not focusing on that. I’m focusing on training and to be as fit as possible at the start line. It’s only when I get to the athletes’ hotel [in New York], and I see the faces and say ‘OK, you are there, and you too,’ and then I will make my plan,” said the marathoner who ran the Boston Marathon twice finishing 7th in 2018.

Just like at the Olympics, his motivation to win his debut New York Marathon runs deep.

“In Somalia, our last world champion was in 1987, that’s Abdi Bile and they just know him. That’s it. They even named a popular Toyota pick up after him, the Abdi Bile car,” he explained.

Bile, the 1996 Olympian, is Somalia’s most decorated athlete in history and still holds several national records.

“In Somalia, they don’t know much about running… The civil war put a pause on everything. So, it’s up to us to educate them, help them to understand and practice sport. Not only those in Somalia but the Somali community around the world.”

Getty Images

Source: olympics.com

Eliud Kipchoge honored as the best male athlete at ANOC awards

Two times Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge was the winner of the 7th edition of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Awards that was held on Sunday (24)

Kipchoge was feted with the prestigious prize following his heroics during the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games staged in Japan between June and July.

The 36-year-old showed the intent of proving once again why he is the world’s greatest after the 30km-mark when he broke away from the group to take a comfortable lead.

reported clocked an impressive 2.08.38 to storm to victory to win Team Kenya’s fourth gold medal in Tokyo, finishing ahead of Abdi Negeeye from the Netherlands and Bashir Abdi from Belgium.

Kipchoge joined two legends who have won an Olympic medal two times. Ethiopia’s Abebe Bekel was the first person to win two times the Olympic marathon medal when he won his first gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome while running barefoot then in 1964 he won his second gold medal.

East German Waldemar Cierpinski, won at the Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980.

Kipchoge’s margin of victory of 80 seconds was the biggest in an Olympic marathon since Frank Shorter’s win at Munich 1972.

Bashir Abdi smashes two records at the Rotterdam Marathon

Belgium’s Bashir Abdi smashed two records as he beat Marius Kipserem who was billed as the race favorite at the 40th edition of the Rotterdam Marathon that was held on Sunday (24) in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The Somali-born Belgian athlete who won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Marathon took charge of the race at the 38km and never looked back to surge ahead as he beat the race defending champion, when he smashed the race course record of 2:04.11 that was set in 2019 with a new course record of 2:03.34.

Abdi, also broke the European marathon course record of 2:04.16 that was set in 2019 by Kaan Kigen from Turkey.

Kipserem was forced to settle in second place with a new personal best of  2:04.08

Bashir Abdi eyes record in Rotterdam after Olympic bronze

Olympic bronze medallist Bashir Abdi plans to attack the European record while Marius Kipserem will be on the hunt for a hat-trick when the 40th NN Marathon Rotterdam, a World Athletics Elite Label road race, takes place on Sunday (24).

Kenya’s Kipserem broke the course record with 2:04:11 to win in 2019 and he leads the entries, but Belgium’s Abdi, who ran 2:04:49 in Tokyo last year, will be looking to challenge him as he attempts to beat the 2:04:16 run by Kaan Kigen Ozbilen in 2019.

“Rotterdam is the city of the marathon for me,” said Abdi. “If I have any chance of beating the European record anywhere, then it is here, but I will have to do my very best for it.”

Ethiopia’s Solomon Deksisa also has a sub-2:05 PB, having clocked 2:04:40 in Amsterdam in 2018, and they will be joined in Rotterdam by athletes including Emmanuel Saina and Gideon Kipketer of Kenya, who have respective PBs of 2:05:02 and 2:05:51, plus sub-2:07 runners Dawit Wolde, Kebede Wami Tulu and Limenih Getachew Yizengaw of Ethiopia.

Kenya’s Bornes Kitur, who ran her best of 2:21:26 in Ljubljana in 2019, and her compatriot Stella Barsosio feature in the women’s race, with Barsosio looking to go one better than her second place finish in 2019, when she ran her PB of 2:23:36.

They will line up alongside athletes including Ukraine’s Nataliya Lehonkova, Norway’s Runa Skrove Falch and Sweden’s Louise Wiker.

Marius Kipserem targets a hat-trick at the Rotterdam Marathon

Kenya’s Marius Kipserem will be going for a hat-trick at the 40th edition of the Rotterdam Marathon that will be held on Sunday (24) in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Kipserem comes to this race as the fastest runner and the race course record holder of 2:04.11 that he set at the 2019 edition.

The 33 year-old will battle for the top honors with the Tokyo marathon bronze medallist Bashir Abdi the somali born now trading for Belgium.

Abdi comes to this race with a personal best of 2:04.49 that he got at the 2020 Tokyo Marathon. The 2018 European silver medallist Champion in 10,000m will be targeting to lower the European marathon record of 2.04.16 that is held by Kaan Kigen Ozbilen from Turkey who had smashed Mo Farah’s previous record of 2:05.11.

Another title contender is Ethiopians Solomon Deksisa who has the second fastest time on paper of 2:04.40 that he got at the 2018 Amsterdam Marathon where he finished in third place.

Kenya will also be represented by Emmanuel Saina who holds a personal best of 2:05.02 that he got at the 2019 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon and Gideon Kipketer who carries on his shoulder a personal best of 2:05.51 that he got at the 2017 Tokyo Marathon. Ethiopia has three more title contenders that include Dawit Wolde of 2:06.18, Kebede Tulu of 2:06.32 and Limenih Yizengaw of 2:06.47.

This top 8 elite athletes will be joined in the first group by John Langat of 2:07.11, Asefa Tefera Mengisa of 2:07.47, Cyrus Mutai of 2:10.28 and Titus Kipruto of 2:12.43.

The race organisers have put together this top elite athletes to chase and lower the race course record with a good margin.

Marius Kipserem targets the Rotterdam Marathon course record

Double Rotterdam Marathon winner Marius Kipserem will be the start to watch at the 36th edition of the marathon that will be held on Sunday 24 October in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Kipserem who has participated in this race thrice made a name for himself at the 2016 edition after he stepped out of the shadow of the race favorites as an outsider to take the pole position in a personal best of 2:06.11.

The 33 year-old was not lucky in the 2018 edition as he finished a distant fifth in 2:07.22 in a race won by Kenneth Kipkemoi in 2:05.44. Kipserem came back in 2019 breathing fire smashing the ten years course record of 2:04.27 that had been set by Duncan Kibet and James Kwambai in 2009, both ran the third fastest time ever for the distance. He set a new course record of 2:04.11 which is also his personal best and has now set his sight on lowering it again come October.

\Kipserem will face off with the Tokyo marathon bronze medallist, Bashir Abdi from the Belgium. The 32 year-old took third place in a controversial manner where he was”dragged” to the bronze medal by his friend Abdi Negeeye the Dutch National record holder of 2:06.11. The Dutch National has opted to race at the New York Marathon this fall.

The Belgian top athlete of Somali descent will be chasing for the European record 2:06.16 that is currently held by Kenyan born now Turkey national Kaan Kigen Özbilen. Abdi has a personal best time of 2:04.49, which is also the second fastest European time.

Kipserem has won three marathons in the ten that he has competed in and his worst finish being placed in 10th place at the 2020 London marathon in 2:09.25.

The race organiser, Mario Kadiks, has put together a great team of elite runners with the hope of lowering the course record. “Toppers with such great aspirations as Marius Kipserem and Bashir Abdi will give the event something special. It promises to be an exciting and fast race.”

The 2020 edition of the race was postponed to 2021 due to the covid-19, with all entries automatically remaining valid for 2021, and all registrants given the option of transferring their entry to another runner.

Marc Scott beats a star studded field at the Great North Run half marathon

Britain’s Marc Scott was the surprise winner at the 40th edition of the Great North Run half marathon that was held on Sunday (12) from Newcastle to South Shields in England.

The focus of this race had been drawn between the 2012 Olympic Games gold medallist in 10,000m Galen Rupp and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics bronze medallist in marathon Somali-born Belgian Bashir Abdi, but it seems the tides were changed when the shoe hit the road that allowed the Scott to show the two champions some dust.

Scott came to this race with a personal best of 1:00.35 but could not lower it as he cut the tape in 1:01.20 to take the 2021 crown.

Edward Cheserek from Kenya (L) Marc Scott from Britain (c) and Galen Rupp from United States pose for a photo after the race. PHOTO: GNR

Kenya’s Edward Cheserek took the second place in 1:01.31 while the 2012 London Olympics silver medallist, Rupp closed the podium first three finishes in 1:01.52.

Galen Rupp to battle Bashir Abdi at Great North Run

The 2012 Olympic Games gold medallist in 10,000m Galen Rupp will be the star to watch at the 40th edition of the Great North Run that will be held on Sunday (12) from Newcastle to South Shields in England.

The 2016 Rio marathon bronze medallist is coming off of an eighth place finish in the Olympic Marathon in Sapporo last month.  A veteran of seven half-marathons, the former Oregon Duck carries on his shoulder a personal best of 59:47 that he got at the 2018 Roma-Ostia half-marathon in Italy.

The 35 year-old American will battle for the top honors as he faces off with the recently crowned bronze medallist in the marathon at the 2020 Summer Olympics,  Somali-born Belgian Bashir Abdi who knows this streets well having participated in this race in 2018 where he finished in third place in 1:01.42. The 32 year-old has a personal best of 1:01.50 that he got in 2017 at the Lille Half Marathon in France.

Other established athletes slated to run are Britain’s Marc Scott who has a personal best of 1:00.35 and Jake Smith of 1:00.31 and Belgium’s Soufiane Bouchikhi of 1:02.59 are also competing on the men’s side, as is Britain’s Charlotte Purdue (1:08:23).

This year’s race has the inclusion of several track athletes making their half-marathon debuts. Those include Stewart McSweyn, the Australian record holder for both the mile (3:48.37) and 10,000m (27:23.80); Eilish McColgan, the British record holder for 5000m (14:28.55); Edward Cheserek, the Kenyan record holder for the indoor mile (3:49.44); and Dominique Scott, the South African record holder for 3000m indoors (8:41.18).

The assembled elite athletes will be fighting to try and lower the race course record of 58:56 that was set in 2011Kenya’s Martin Mathathi.

How Tokyo 2020 tested Kenya’s running dominance and revealed future threats

As a small developing nation, Kenya has consistently punched above its weight on the international sports arena, more so in athletics. This is reflected perfectly in the fact that 93% of Kenya’s 114 Olympic medals won between 1964 and 2021 are in track and field while the remaining seven came from boxing.

My closer examination of Kenya’s historical performances further reveals the country’s strengths to be in middle and distance events. These range from 800 metres around the track to the marathon. Of the 107 medals won in track and field, 101 (94.39%) were in middle and distance events – split between women (27.10%) and men (72.90%).

A number of factors are attributed to this consistent top-level performance. First is the early introduction of the sport in numerous settings going back to the colonial period. New talent was nurtured in regular school-based competitions running from local to national level.

Second is the mass recruitment of promising athletes into the uniformed forces. Here, sustained training under near-professional settings improved performances and stimulated competition for top places. Third, most athletes are born, raised and train at high altitude, which enhances their physiological efficiency.

Moreover, since the 1980s, the professionalisation of track and field and especially distance running opened doors for more talents to emerge and pursue earning a living from their running ability.

Kenya’s dominance however has historically been tested by Ethiopians. More recently, the challenge comes from the emergence of Uganda, cementing the place of East Africa as the powerhouse of distance running. Tokyo 2020 revealed the shape of the new challenge. It is the threat of talented fellow Kenyans as well as Somalis, Sudanese and Ethiopians who have switched allegiance in droves to better resourced countries outside Africa.

For example, Sifan Hassan, the Ethiopian-born runner who moved to the Netherlands as a refugee, won two gold medals in the Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m as well as bronze in the 1,500m race. Abdi Nageeye, a Somali, ran for the Netherlands and won silver in marathon. He also encouraged another Somali, Bashir Abdi, running for Belgium, to win a bronze at the expense of Lawrence Cherono of Kenya. Yet another Somali, Mohammed Ahmed, won silver for Canada in the 5000m men’s race. Paul Chelimo, one of five Kenyans in team USA, won a bronze in 5000m ahead of Nicholas Kimeli of Kenya.

In Tokyo, these migrants denied their former African compatriots medals in men’s marathon, men’s 5000m, women’s 5000m, 10 000m, 1500m and women’s 800m. This no doubt contributed to a decline in medals won by Kenya, and even Ethiopia. This trend is likely to continue as the second generation of immigrants, such as Athing Mu of the USA, is going to hurt Kenya’s chances for more medals.

Tokyo 2020 takeaways

Tokyo, the venue of the 2020 Olympic Games, holds symbolic meaning for Kenya as the city where its long tradition of winning medals started. That was in 1964 when Wilson Kiprugut won a bronze in the 800m race. This time around, Kenya men won a gold and silver over that distance. The gold was the fourth in a row at the Olympics.

However, it was not all plain sailing. One of the most painful moments of the 2020 Olympics was the loss of the steeplechase title for men. Kenya won gold medals in 1968, 1972, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. For a country that dominates distance running, missing out on medals at this signature distance event is worth evaluating by Athletics Kenya. The team selection and preparation has to be better and the tactics have to be right for the moment.

But as the Tokyo Olympics showed, Uganda is gradually adopting the Kenyan playbook in running as they scooped two gold medals, one silver and one bronze in women’s steeplechase, 5,000m men and 10,000m men. What benefited Uganda was the dramatic decline of Ethiopia too as the latter normally win medals in 5,000m and 10,000m men’s events that the former won in this time around.

The dual threat of migrant athletes from the East African region and the emergence of Uganda sends a powerful message that Kenya needs to look beyond its core strengths moving forward. The emergence of new sprint hero Ferdinand Omanyala is a reminder that Kenya has its work cut out to invest more resources in short races.

Conclusion

Kenya’s 19th ranking at the Tokyo Olympic Games with 10 medals (four gold, four silver and two bronze) was once again the pride of Africa. It ranked third behind the USA and Italy in track and field.

However, the drop in medals, the emergence of Uganda’s middle and distance runners as well as the continued rivalry posed by East African migrant athletes should challenge the Kenyan sports leaders to push for more investment of resources in other areas where there is potential to win Olympic medals. This has to be a deliberate effort as the 33rd Olympiad in Paris, France is only three years away.

Wycliffe W. Njororai Simiyu, Professor, Health and Kinesiology, University of Texas at Tyler

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Eliud Kipchoge the history maker

Eliud Kipchoge wrote another history as the third man to defend his Olympic title when he defended his Olympic title at the Tokyo Olympics Games.

The 36-year-old Kenyan crossed the finish in a time of 2:08:38, to cement his status as the greatest long distance runner in history.

He joins the special club two of those who defended their Olympic titles in the marathon, Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia (1960, 1964) and East Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski (1976, 1980).

Eliud Kipchoge defends his Olympic marathon title. Photo Creditd: Getty Images

He also holds the official world record with a time 2:01.39 that he set in 2018 and is the only human ever to have completed the 42km run in under two hours, which he did in an unofficial event in 2019.

Kipchoge was followed by Abdi Negeeye of Netherlands, who crossed the line in 2:09.58 to the take silver while Bashir Abdi of Belgium settled for bronze.

“Firstly I want to say thank you to everyone for the support and to those that made the Olympics, Tokyo 2020 happen,” Kipchoge told the BBC after his race win.

“I am happy to defend my title and to show the next generation, if you respect the sport and be disciplined you can accomplish your assignment.

“It was not really easy, but it was really hard for everybody if you consider the weather. I am happy to cross the finishing line as the fastest.

“Tokyo 2020 has happened, it is means a lot, it means there is hope. It means we are on the right track to a normal life. So we are on the track to our normal lives that is the meaning of the Olympics.