Ready, set, Mo: Ahmed back on world stage in Moscow


Ahmed

Aug. 8, 2013

BY AJ HARRISON
UW Athletic Communications

MADISON, Wis. -- After competing on the international stage last year at the 2012 Olympics, Wisconsin senior Mohammed Ahmed is back on the big stage running for Canada in the 10,000 meters at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow on Saturday.

 Broadcast Schedule
Men's 10,000 Meters - Final
Saturday, Aug. 10
• 9:55 a.m. - UniversalSports.com Small Video Graphic (Live)
• 2:30 p.m. - NBC (Tape Delay)
Men's 3000 Steeplechase - Qualifying
Monday, Aug. 12
• 1:10 a.m. - UniversalSports.com Small Video Graphic (Live)
Men's 3000 Steeplechase - Final
Thursday, Aug. 15
• 11:20 a.m. - Universal Sports /
  UniversalSports.com Small Video Graphic (Live)

Ahmed, an eight-time All-American in cross country and track at Wisconsin, is coming off of winning his second-straight Canadian title in the 10,000 meters. This marks the second time this year Ahmed will compete at an IAAF world championship, as he was Canada's top finisher, placing 22nd, at the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March.

"Any time you get to run to your country, it is a great opportunity and an amazing experience," Ahmed said.

The finals of the 10,000 meters is set to start at 9:55 a.m. (CT). The race will be shown, on delay, in the United States on NBC, with coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m.

Also competing at the world championships is former Badger Evan Jager, who will run in the 3000 steeplechase. The two-time U.S. champion will race in the qualifying round on Monday at 1:10 a.m. (CT). The finals of the men's steeplechase takes place on Thursday, Aug. 15, at 11:20 a.m.

After earning first-team All-America honors during the cross country and indoor track and field seasons, Ahmed redshirted during the outdoor season to focus on advancing to the world championships. He will return with indoor and outdoor eligibility for his senior season in 2014.

"All that time of not racing too much has given me time to perfect things, such as my speed, the change in pace," Ahmed said. "It has been very beneficial. When I competed last year in London, I didn't have that break. I had a whole season of NCAA racing before the Olympics, which made it difficult."

He also hopes to build off of his experience at the Olympics, where he finished 18th against a field filled with professional athletes.

Tegenkamp, Solinsky, Jager
Wisconsin to Worlds
Badgers at the IAAF World Championships

2013 - Moscow, Russia
• Evan Jager (3000 steeplechase)
Mohammed Ahmed (10,000 meters)

2011 - Daegu, South Korea
• Matt Tegenkamp (10,000 meters)

2009 - Berlin, Germany
• Evan Jager (5000 meters)
• Chris Solinsky (5000 meters)
• Matt Tegenkamp (5000 meters)
• Tim Nelson (10,000 meters)

2007 - Osaka, Japan
• Matt Tegenkamp (5000 meters)

2001 - Edmonton, Canada
• Pascal Dobert (3000 steeplechase)

1999 - Seville, Spain
• Pascal Dobert (3000 steeplechase)

"I was confused running in London," he admitted. "I didn't know when the race would slow down or speed up. Now I know the laps where the pace will slow down and will speed up. I want to stick around in this race on Saturday at lot longer than I did in London."

Ahmed is the only collegian competing in the men's 10,000 meters and says there is a major difference in the tactics of collegiate and international racing.

"There is a lot of change in pace in the 10,000 meters in the international scene," Ahmed said. "I have never experienced it in college or in North America. In North America, it is more of sit, sit and kick, or a fast pace off the get-go, even pacing (in the middle of the race) and then kicking as fast as you can at the end of the race."

"Overseas, they will drop a slow lap and then they will drop a fast, 60-second lap. The change in the speeds of the lap has a huge effect on you at the end of your race."

After six weeks of training, including time in Kamen, Germany, leading up to the trip to Moscow, Ahmed is prepared and focused for the task at hand.

"My only focus has been this," Ahmed said. "At times, it has been hard, since it was so far away. I had to tell myself to keep training. I have trained very hard for this race and I have put everything into it the past six weeks. I feel like I'm fitter, stronger and fresher."

This marks the third straight world championships in which a Badger has competed in the 10,000 meters, as Tim Nelson competed in 2009 and Matt Tegenkamp ran in 2011. Ahmed is also the sixth Badger since 1997 to compete at the world championships outdoors.

Jager will make his second appearance at the world championships since departing UW in 2008. In 2009, he was a part of the U.S. 5000 meters team with fellow former Badgers Chris Solinsky and Tegenkamp.

He burst onto the scene in the steeplechase last year, when he set the American record of 8:06.81 in just his fifth ever race in the event. He won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and finished sixth at the Olympics, which marked the highest finish for a U.S. athlete since 1996.

He repeated this year as the U.S. champion in the steeplechase and has a season-best time of 8:08.60, which ranks as not only the top American time this year, but the eighth-best time in the world.

With two entries, Wisconsin matches Indiana for the most men's athletes competing at the world championships. In all, seven men and 14 women with Big Ten ties will compete at the meet.

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