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Monday, September 25, 2023

Wisconsin men’s track and field junior Mohammed Ahmed’s program-record time in the 10,000 meters has all but guranteed him a trip to London with Team Canada.

Men's Track and Field: Ahmed on verge of securing berth in 2012 Olympic Games

Wisconsin men’s track and field junior Mohammed Ahmed has nearly locked up a place in the 2012 Olympic Games after his performance late Sunday at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.

Ahmed competed in the 10,000 meters race and posted a lifetime-best time of 27 minutes, 34.64 seconds—good for a sixth place finish—to secure Olympic “A” standard.

“Running that time, I know I’m going to be hurting for a couple days, but if I’d run 28 minutes I’d be hurting too,” Ahmed said. “In the 10K you can’t settle. I was telling myself, ‘You’ve been here for 20 laps with these guys, you can do it.

“I just wanted to go to the Olympics and I can’t believe it.”

The St. Catharines, Ontario native’s time was the sixth-fastest in the world this year and was good enough to surpass the Olympic standard by just over 10 seconds.

Ahmed redshirted the Badgers’ indoor season and hadn’t yet competed outdoors before taking part in the Payton Jordan meet—an event he decided beforehand would be the only time he would try for the Olympic standard.

“I think if I didn’t get the ‘A’ standard here I might have been done and just focusing on [collegiate] stuff,” Ahmed said. “I wasn’t going to go get another race, I wouldn’t have even gone to the [Canadian Olympic] trials. I said, ‘You’re giving yourself one shot, and if you don’t get it, that’s it.’”

In order to officially secure a trip to London for this summer’s Olympic games, Ahmed will have to earn a spot on Team Canada at the Canadian Olympic Trials, which will take place June 27 in Calgary. Until then he will compete for Wisconsin at the Big Ten championships and into the NCAA championships.

Having secured the Olympic standard, Ahmed can turn his attention toward out-running the competition.

“I’ve been focusing on this for four years,” he said. “My high school coach prepared me and then [Wisconsin men’s cross country head coach] Mick [Byrne] took over and has done a great job. Plus, I have such great teammates and every single day I have six or seven guys who can push me. When you have that it makes your life a lot easier.”

Ahmed’s time also made him the UW record holder in the 10,000 meters. Exactly five years to the day after Tim Nelson set the Wisconsin record on the very same track with a time of 28 minutes, 4.46 seconds, Ahmed broke the mark with a time that was better by just under 30 seconds. contributed to this report.

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