Dave Feschuk: Canada’s Moh Ahmed takes his best shot in the Tokyo 10,000 but can’t hang on to late lead

TOKYO—As the Olympic final of the men’s 10,000 metres wound down to its decisive laps Friday at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, Canada’s Moh Ahmed found himself in extraordinary company.Ahmed, at more than one point, was running shoulder to shoulder with no less a talent than Joshua Cheptegei, the Ugandan who holds the world record in both the 10,000 and the 5,000 metres. And so it says something about the enormity of Ahmed’s ambition that, with about 750 metres to go, he moved into the lead. For as long as Ahmed has been Canada’s top distance runner — and Friday’s race marked the third trip to the Games for the 30-year-old from St. Catharines — he has been adamant about his end game.“Honestly, one of the things that I’m really sick of is ‘best Canadian finish,’ ‘best Canadian this.’ I want to be the best in the world,” Ahmed said in 2017, when he first broke the national record in the 10,000.So here he was, on the first day of the track meet at his third Olympics, going step for step with the best runner on the planet, or certainly one of them. And true to his word, Ahmed didn’t defer to the great Cheptegei. He attacked him. The move was beyond bold. On an oppressively hot and humid night at an Olympic Stadium devoid of fans, it was certainly risky. “I think (I felt) just like everybody else. Everybody was tired. Everybody was hurting,” Ahmed said. “But you’ve got to let the adrenalin carry you.”Indeed, if there’s a choice between (a) bold and risky and (b) boring and safe, option (a) has always been Ahmed’s play.“It’s kind of like basketball. Everybody has a go-to move,” Ahmed said. “And you’ve got to read the race and use your tools. That’s what I was trying to do.”In the harsh final analysis of an Olympic time sheet, Ahmed’s go-to move hit the rim like a brick. Though he led the field through much of the penultimate trip around the 400-metre oval, various rivals counter-attacked on the bell lap. And though Ahmed clearly searched for the requisite gear to stay within reach of the podium, he simply wasn’t in possession of the tools Friday.So it was Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega whose final-lap surge won him the gold medal. It was Cheptegei, who complained after the race about a sore tendon in his ankle, who settled for silver, with fellow Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo taking bronze. Ahmed, in the end, faded to sixth — the same result he’d achieved the last time he ran the 10,000 at the 2019 world championships.“Maybe I was little eager — got a little too eager and shot out to the front with 750 metres to go, a little too hard,” Ahmed said. “But you know, I did the best that I could.”This was Ahmed’s third try at the longest of Olympic track races. And, for all his post-race acknowledgement of what he might have done differently, it was by far his best result. In London in 2012, as a 21-year-old from the University of Wisconsin, Ahmed wasonly the second-best Canadian in the race, finishing 18th behind countryman Cam Levins, who finished 11th. And if Ahmed’s hopes were much higher five years ago in Rio, he learned that running shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world can be an energy-sapping experience. He likened the early part of that race to being in a “washing machine,” with the athletes throwing elbows and cutting each other off. And once he fell off the pace, in the midst of the physicality, he lost his chance. He finished last.“I thought I was ready for it,” Ahmed said in Rio. “My legs couldn’t sustain it … I wanted to be with those guys, and I was pretty much watching the last six or seven laps.”A lot has happened between Rio and here. In 2017, Ahmed broke Levins’ national record in the 10,000, then loudly announced he was setting his sights higher than domestic dominance. By the time he lowered the Canadian record again with that sixth at the 2019 worlds, he wasn’t quite the best on the planet, but he was getting closer. His sixth-place finish in that race might have been even better if he hadn’t spent the earlier part of that week winning a bronze medal in the 5,000, Canada’s first world championship medal at a distance event.“It’s a learning curve,” Ahmed said in 2019. “As the body adapts and gets old, I should be able to recover better (between the two races).”Asked if his effort in Friday’s race will hinder his performance in the 5,000, with heats Tuesday and the final on Friday, Ahmed shrugged: “Maybe. Hopefully not.”Will Friday’s race provide more motivation in the 5,000?“I hope so,” he said.No matter the result of the 10,000, one thing was assured: A new king of the Olympic 10K was going to be crowned. Notable in his absence Friday was Mo Farah, the Briton who won double gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 in both London in 2012 and Rio in 2016. Now 38, Farah missed the Olympic qualifying standard in the 10,000 by about 19 seconds in his final attempt in Manchester last month. Asked whether he’d be watching these Olympics, Farah was nearly brought to tears: “It’s going to be tough … But it’s the Olympics. If y

Dave Feschuk: Canada’s Moh Ahmed takes his best shot in the Tokyo 10,000 but can’t hang on to late lead

TOKYO—As the Olympic final of the men’s 10,000 metres wound down to its decisive laps Friday at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, Canada’s Moh Ahmed found himself in extraordinary company.

Ahmed, at more than one point, was running shoulder to shoulder with no less a talent than Joshua Cheptegei, the Ugandan who holds the world record in both the 10,000 and the 5,000 metres. And so it says something about the enormity of Ahmed’s ambition that, with about 750 metres to go, he moved into the lead. For as long as Ahmed has been Canada’s top distance runner — and Friday’s race marked the third trip to the Games for the 30-year-old from St. Catharines — he has been adamant about his end game.

“Honestly, one of the things that I’m really sick of is ‘best Canadian finish,’ ‘best Canadian this.’ I want to be the best in the world,” Ahmed said in 2017, when he first broke the national record in the 10,000.

So here he was, on the first day of the track meet at his third Olympics, going step for step with the best runner on the planet, or certainly one of them. And true to his word, Ahmed didn’t defer to the great Cheptegei. He attacked him. The move was beyond bold. On an oppressively hot and humid night at an Olympic Stadium devoid of fans, it was certainly risky.

“I think (I felt) just like everybody else. Everybody was tired. Everybody was hurting,” Ahmed said. “But you’ve got to let the adrenalin carry you.”

Indeed, if there’s a choice between (a) bold and risky and (b) boring and safe, option (a) has always been Ahmed’s play.

“It’s kind of like basketball. Everybody has a go-to move,” Ahmed said. “And you’ve got to read the race and use your tools. That’s what I was trying to do.”

In the harsh final analysis of an Olympic time sheet, Ahmed’s go-to move hit the rim like a brick. Though he led the field through much of the penultimate trip around the 400-metre oval, various rivals counter-attacked on the bell lap. And though Ahmed clearly searched for the requisite gear to stay within reach of the podium, he simply wasn’t in possession of the tools Friday.

So it was Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega whose final-lap surge won him the gold medal. It was Cheptegei, who complained after the race about a sore tendon in his ankle, who settled for silver, with fellow Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo taking bronze. Ahmed, in the end, faded to sixth — the same result he’d achieved the last time he ran the 10,000 at the 2019 world championships.

“Maybe I was little eager — got a little too eager and shot out to the front with 750 metres to go, a little too hard,” Ahmed said. “But you know, I did the best that I could.”

This was Ahmed’s third try at the longest of Olympic track races. And, for all his post-race acknowledgement of what he might have done differently, it was by far his best result. In London in 2012, as a 21-year-old from the University of Wisconsin, Ahmed wasonly the second-best Canadian in the race, finishing 18th behind countryman Cam Levins, who finished 11th.

And if Ahmed’s hopes were much higher five years ago in Rio, he learned that running shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world can be an energy-sapping experience. He likened the early part of that race to being in a “washing machine,” with the athletes throwing elbows and cutting each other off. And once he fell off the pace, in the midst of the physicality, he lost his chance. He finished last.

“I thought I was ready for it,” Ahmed said in Rio. “My legs couldn’t sustain it … I wanted to be with those guys, and I was pretty much watching the last six or seven laps.”

A lot has happened between Rio and here. In 2017, Ahmed broke Levins’ national record in the 10,000, then loudly announced he was setting his sights higher than domestic dominance. By the time he lowered the Canadian record again with that sixth at the 2019 worlds, he wasn’t quite the best on the planet, but he was getting closer. His sixth-place finish in that race might have been even better if he hadn’t spent the earlier part of that week winning a bronze medal in the 5,000, Canada’s first world championship medal at a distance event.

“It’s a learning curve,” Ahmed said in 2019. “As the body adapts and gets old, I should be able to recover better (between the two races).”

Asked if his effort in Friday’s race will hinder his performance in the 5,000, with heats Tuesday and the final on Friday, Ahmed shrugged: “Maybe. Hopefully not.”

Will Friday’s race provide more motivation in the 5,000?

“I hope so,” he said.

No matter the result of the 10,000, one thing was assured: A new king of the Olympic 10K was going to be crowned. Notable in his absence Friday was Mo Farah, the Briton who won double gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 in both London in 2012 and Rio in 2016. Now 38, Farah missed the Olympic qualifying standard in the 10,000 by about 19 seconds in his final attempt in Manchester last month. Asked whether he’d be watching these Olympics, Farah was nearly brought to tears: “It’s going to be tough … But it’s the Olympics. If you can’t compete, then you’ve got to watch at home.”

Whether or not Farah was watching Friday night, Ahmed cited his late-attacking style as an inspiration for his attempt to commandeer the Olympic final with about 750 metres to go. As Ahmed pointed out: Before Farah was dominating races with such go-to moves, Farah languished through some years when he would try the same moves but fail. Which went to Ahmed’s point about basketball. As the old saying goes: Never up, never in. Nobody gets to be the best in the world being afraid to shoot their shot.

“The way that I ran the race, especially that last four or five laps, I’m not ashamed of that,” Ahmed said. “I put myself in it. I made myself a player, tried making winning moves. Unfortunately, I didn’t have too much in that last 250 (metres), maybe 300. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. These guys are the cream of the crop, the best in the world. And anytime you can compete against them, you’ve just got to be grateful for the opportunity and try to take something away from that.”

Dave Feschuk is a Toronto-based sports columnist for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @dfeschuk

Source : Toronto Star More   

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Tokyo Olympics Day 8: Swimmers Kylie Masse, Taylor Ruck up soon in medal race; Women’s soccer team facing U.S. in semifinals; Nigerian sprinter suspended for positive HGH test

The latest Olympics news from Tokyo and around the world on Friday. Web links to longer stories if available:8:47 p.m.: In the first round of 400m hurdles, Canadian Marco Arop is competing in the Heat 2. Brandon McBride is competing in Heat 3.Also in the Olympic Athletics category: Women's 100: Crystal Emmanuel, Toronto (11.18 seconds) and Khamica Bingham, Brampton, Ont. (11.21), were 19th and 21st in qualifying round. Both will advance to the second round.Women's 5,000: Andrea Seccafien, Guelph, Ont., was the 15th-fastest in qualifying (14:59.55) and will race in the final.8:30 p.m.: Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unity after an out-of-competition test came back positive for human growth hormone.Okagbare will no longer compete at the Tokyo Olympics, where she was set to run in the women’s 100-meter semifinal. The drug test sample was analyzed in a laboratory accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and when the positive test was discovered, the AIU was notified.8:12 p.m.: The latest scores in the Olympic Athletics category: In the first round of 400m hurdles, Canadian Sage Watson qualifies after coming in fourth place with a time 55.54. In the second round, Canadian Noelle Montcalm came in sixth with a time of 55.85.8:12 p.m.: In the Olympic triathalon mixed team event, Canadians Joanna Brown, Alexis Lepage, Amelie Kretz and Matthew Sharpe came in 15th with a time of 1:27:21.8:08 p.m.: The U.S. women’s soccer team has defeated the Netherlands 3-2 to reach the Olympic semifinals. 8 p.m.: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expanded a state of emergency to areas surrounding Tokyo and extended it to the end of August, in the face of a record virus surge unfolding as his country hosts the Olympics.The expansion comes after three straight days of record COVID-19 infections in Tokyo and as national daily infection figures soared over 10,000 for the first time since the pandemic began about 18 months ago. Tokyo on Friday posted 3,300 new cases.7:15 p.m.: As the Olympic final of the men’s 10,000 metres wound down to its decisive laps Friday at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, Canada’s top distance runner Moh Ahmed found himself in extraordinary company. Ahmed, at more than one point, was running shoulder to shoulder with Joshua Cheptegei, the Ugandan who holds the world record in both the 10,000 and the 5,000 metres.In the end, Ethiopian Selemon Barega’s final-lap surge won him the gold medal. Cheptegei settled for silver, and fellow Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo took bronze. Ahmed faded to sixth — the same result he’d achieved the last time he ran the 10,000 at the 2019 world championships.The latest from Dave Feschuk: Canada’s Moh Ahmed takes his best shot in the Tokyo 10,000 but can’t hang on to late lead5:44 p.m.: Penny Oleksiak isn’t letting a finish off the podium in the women’s 100-metre freestyle get her down.The 21-year-old swimmer set a Canadian record by swimming a personal-best 52.29 seconds in the event on Friday morning in Tokyo — 0.41 seconds faster than her gold-medal time in Rio five years ago. Also in Laura Armstrong’s Olympics roundup: Track cyclist Georgia Simmerling cheers on her partner, goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé; American swimmer Michael Andrew refuses to wear his mask in the mixed zone after the men’s 200-metre individual medley. Also, South Korean archer An San was targeted by online trolls for her haircut — and thousands stood up for her. 5:35 p.m.: Felicia Stancil of Lake Villa, Ill., finished fourth in the women’s BMX race Friday, narrowly missing a medal following her training partner’s terrifying crash.After falling behind at the start of the final, Stancil made up ground throughout the 400-meter course, but ultimately could not catch the leaders. Great Britain’s Bethany Shriever won gold, followed by silver medallist Mariana Pajon of Columbia and third-place finisher Merel Smulders of the Netherlands.5 p.m.: It is a tall task ahead for Canada’s basketball women at the Olympics, but you have to beat great teams to be a great team and they are aware of the challenge ahead — and of the significance of the game.Canada faces Spain in its final opening-round game in Tokyo on Sunday morning (9 p.m. ET, Saturday) and its dreams of winning an Olympic medal may be on the line. A win would virtually assure the Canadian women, 1-1, a spot in the quarterfinals Tuesday. The latest from Doug Smith: Canada’s surest route to the Olympic basketball quarterfinals is with a win over third-ranked Spain2:50 p.m.: On today’s episode of Tokyo Daily, Brendan Dunlop recaps Canada’s nail biting penalty kick shootout win over Brazil in women’s soccer with the Toronto Star’s Laura Armstrong. Canadian women continue to medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a gold in rowing, while Penny Oleksiak and Rosie MacLennan just miss the podium.Watch the latest Tokyo Daily here: Pitch perfect — Canadian women’s soccer team keeps golden dreams alive2 p.m.: It’s alwa

Tokyo Olympics Day 8: Swimmers Kylie Masse, Taylor Ruck up soon in medal race; Women’s soccer team facing U.S. in semifinals; Nigerian sprinter suspended for positive HGH test

The latest Olympics news from Tokyo and around the world on Friday. Web links to longer stories if available:

8:47 p.m.: In the first round of 400m hurdles, Canadian Marco Arop is competing in the Heat 2. Brandon McBride is competing in Heat 3.

Also in the Olympic Athletics category:

Women's 100: Crystal Emmanuel, Toronto (11.18 seconds) and Khamica Bingham, Brampton, Ont. (11.21), were 19th and 21st in qualifying round. Both will advance to the second round.

Women's 5,000: Andrea Seccafien, Guelph, Ont., was the 15th-fastest in qualifying (14:59.55) and will race in the final.

8:30 p.m.: Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unity after an out-of-competition test came back positive for human growth hormone.

Okagbare will no longer compete at the Tokyo Olympics, where she was set to run in the women’s 100-meter semifinal. The drug test sample was analyzed in a laboratory accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and when the positive test was discovered, the AIU was notified.

8:12 p.m.: The latest scores in the Olympic Athletics category:

In the first round of 400m hurdles, Canadian Sage Watson qualifies after coming in fourth place with a time 55.54.

In the second round, Canadian Noelle Montcalm came in sixth with a time of 55.85.

8:12 p.m.: In the Olympic triathalon mixed team event, Canadians Joanna Brown, Alexis Lepage, Amelie Kretz and Matthew Sharpe came in 15th with a time of 1:27:21.

8:08 p.m.: The U.S. women’s soccer team has defeated the Netherlands 3-2 to reach the Olympic semifinals.

8 p.m.: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expanded a state of emergency to areas surrounding Tokyo and extended it to the end of August, in the face of a record virus surge unfolding as his country hosts the Olympics.

The expansion comes after three straight days of record COVID-19 infections in Tokyo and as national daily infection figures soared over 10,000 for the first time since the pandemic began about 18 months ago. Tokyo on Friday posted 3,300 new cases.

7:15 p.m.: As the Olympic final of the men’s 10,000 metres wound down to its decisive laps Friday at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, Canada’s top distance runner Moh Ahmed found himself in extraordinary company. Ahmed, at more than one point, was running shoulder to shoulder with Joshua Cheptegei, the Ugandan who holds the world record in both the 10,000 and the 5,000 metres.

In the end, Ethiopian Selemon Barega’s final-lap surge won him the gold medal. Cheptegei settled for silver, and fellow Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo took bronze. Ahmed faded to sixth — the same result he’d achieved the last time he ran the 10,000 at the 2019 world championships.

The latest from Dave Feschuk: Canada’s Moh Ahmed takes his best shot in the Tokyo 10,000 but can’t hang on to late lead

5:44 p.m.: Penny Oleksiak isn’t letting a finish off the podium in the women’s 100-metre freestyle get her down.

The 21-year-old swimmer set a Canadian record by swimming a personal-best 52.29 seconds in the event on Friday morning in Tokyo — 0.41 seconds faster than her gold-medal time in Rio five years ago.

Also in Laura Armstrong’s Olympics roundup: Track cyclist Georgia Simmerling cheers on her partner, goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé; American swimmer Michael Andrew refuses to wear his mask in the mixed zone after the men’s 200-metre individual medley. Also, South Korean archer An San was targeted by online trolls for her haircut — and thousands stood up for her.

5:35 p.m.: Felicia Stancil of Lake Villa, Ill., finished fourth in the women’s BMX race Friday, narrowly missing a medal following her training partner’s terrifying crash.

After falling behind at the start of the final, Stancil made up ground throughout the 400-meter course, but ultimately could not catch the leaders. Great Britain’s Bethany Shriever won gold, followed by silver medallist Mariana Pajon of Columbia and third-place finisher Merel Smulders of the Netherlands.

5 p.m.: It is a tall task ahead for Canada’s basketball women at the Olympics, but you have to beat great teams to be a great team and they are aware of the challenge ahead — and of the significance of the game.

Canada faces Spain in its final opening-round game in Tokyo on Sunday morning (9 p.m. ET, Saturday) and its dreams of winning an Olympic medal may be on the line. A win would virtually assure the Canadian women, 1-1, a spot in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

The latest from Doug Smith: Canada’s surest route to the Olympic basketball quarterfinals is with a win over third-ranked Spain

2:50 p.m.: On today’s episode of Tokyo Daily, Brendan Dunlop recaps Canada’s nail biting penalty kick shootout win over Brazil in women’s soccer with the Toronto Star’s Laura Armstrong. Canadian women continue to medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a gold in rowing, while Penny Oleksiak and Rosie MacLennan just miss the podium.

Watch the latest Tokyo Daily here: Pitch perfect — Canadian women’s soccer team keeps golden dreams alive

2 p.m.: It’s always disappointing to have your Olympic journey end, but it must have been especially frustrating for Australia’s Aron Baynes, who was injured on the court before slipping in the bathroom.

Baynes, who also plays for the Raptors, will miss the rest of the Olympic men’s basketball tournament after sustaining a neck injury in what team doctor David Hughes called “a complicated series of events.” ​​

1:30 p.m.: Veteran soccer captain Christine Sinclair missed a crucial penalty against Brazil, but her team came through and the script flipped: Instead of Sinclair trying to carry Canada, Canada carried Sinclair, writes Bruce Arthur.

Next up for women’s soccer: Canada will take on the United States in the semifinals.

The latest from Bruce Arthur in Tokyo: Canadian women’s soccer team returns Olympic favour to captain Christine Sinclair

1 p.m.: Rugby Canada fired Jamie Cudmore, a former star player in charge of developing the next generation of talent, on Friday for a series of social media posts belittling the women’s sevens team.

His posts took aim at the sevens squad for its disappointing performance at the Tokyo Olympics.

Previously: Canada beats Brazil in women’s soccer, will face U.S. next; Canadian runner Mohammed Ahmed finished sixth in the men’s 10,000-metre; Rosie MacLennan fourth in trampoline; women’s eight rowers win first gold since 1992; Canada advances to finals in women’s 4 x 100 m medley relay.

For a full write-up of what you missed on Day 7 of the Tokyo Olympics, click here.

For full coverage of the Tokyo Olympics, click here.

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