Ahmed ramping for Commonwealth Games
Mo Ahmed, shown helping out at the Zone 3 and 4 high school cross country meet, is hard at work preparing for the 2018 Commonwealth Games this April in Australia. Photo by BERNIE PUCHALSKI.
It was no surprise that Mo Ahmed was one of 46 athletes chosen by Athletics Canada to represent Canada at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
“There wasn’t any uncertainty,” the 27-year-old former St. Catharines resident said. “I pretty much secured my spot by what I accomplished over the last year.”
What he accomplished was making Canada’s team for the world championships and then finishing sixth in the 5,000 metres and eighth in the 10,000 metres.
“It was a little bit harder because it was Commonwealth Games Canada who selected the team,” the St. Catharines Collegiate grad said. “It was pretty much you had to be ranked in the top five in the Commonwealth countries and this is one of the smallest athletic teams that Canada has sent.”
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland, Ahmed was fifth in the 5,000 metres and sixth in the 10,000 metres. The fields in distance events at the Commonwealth Games are difficult and include runners from Kenya, Uganda, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and Botswana to name a few.
“With Kenya and Uganda being there, it makes it pretty tough,” Ahmed said. “It’s not going to be easy.”
The 11-time All-American at the University of Wisconsin has been named to the team to race the 5,000 metres but he is hoping once again to compete in both events.
“The 5k comes first and you have five days after that before the 10k,” he said. “It’s a bit of a flipflop because usually the 10k is first.”
There are also no semifinals in the events. It is straight to the finals.
The 2012 and 2016 Olympian feels all his experiences at multi-sport events will help him out in Australia.
“I know what to expect, I am not naive or anything and I don’t have any of those feelings,” said the native of Mogadishu, Somalia.
One thing that is different is that his goals are different then they were four years ago.
“I am a different athlete and I am getting better every single day so I expect big things from myself and I am going to try and get medals and contend for the win,” the Niagara Olympic Club member said. “And I am also going to try and learn for the next three major international events that are coming up.”
Even in 2014, he had his eyes set on a Commonwealth Games medal but it would have been a shock.
“I’m very competitive and those feelings were within me but it would have been a big surprise for me to get a medal back then,” he said. “It would have been a big accomplishment unlike now when it should be expected from me based on all the things I have done over the last little while.”
There are no world championships being held in 2018 so he’s looking towards the 2019 worlds and 2020 Olympics.
“I am using these Games to learn how to deal with the crowd and the other competitors and learn how to win,” Ahmed said.
He feels his training is going really well from his base in Portland, Ore.
“I haven’t had any major hiccups or anything like that and I have been taking care of the body and grinding every day,” he said. “I have been heading out the door, dodging the rain and elements with no vision of when I will be racing.”
He may have one indoor race before he heads to Australia and he’s also hoping to run a race when he gets Down Under.
“It’s all a progression of my fitness and to break up the monotony of training.”
As he trains in Oregon, he is chalking up the most mileage he has ever accumulated.
“Before I couldn’t do it and my body wasn’t able to handle it in the past,” he said. “I’m getting stronger and more mature.”
He hasn’t taken any time off since October and has ran more than 1,200 miles in training over the last 10-11 weeks.
“I have been really grinding with my head down, getting stronger and learning how to spin the wheels and deal with the tiredness and fatigue,” he said. “I am just trying to get better as an athlete.”
He is looking forward to the entire Commonwealth Games experience.
“It is kind of cool,” he said. “In 2014, it was a similar experience to the Olympics but in a smaller venue and setting.”
He was able to meet at lot of fellow Canadian athletes at the last Commonwealth Games and is hoping to meet more this time around, He will be staying in the Athlete’s Village.
“It’s a chance to meet, hang out and talk with the best in Canada and across the world.”