Ottawa (Canada) Oct 07: Distance runner Moh Ahmed, who broke the Canadian record in the men's 10,000 metres at the 2017 world championships, lowered his personal-best time in the final at this year's worlds to 26 minutes 59.30 seconds for a sixth-place finish on Sunday.
He climbed to third in the field of 21 at 7,200 metres and as high as second shortly after, before dropping to fourth with 1,000 metres remaining at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
"That was tough. I kind of felt heavy [in the legs] early," Ahmed, who won Canada's first-ever distance medal at worlds in the 5,000 earlier in the week, told Scott Russell of CBC Sports. "I've gotta work on my stride and learn how to run smoothly, balanced and comfortable among the [lead] pack.
"I'm not disappointed. These [worlds] have been a success already with the bronze medal. I wanted to get the gold in this one . but two years ago I was eighth and [more than 12 seconds back of winner Mo Farah's year world-leading 26:49.51]. Today, sixth, and [11 seconds off the winning time]. It's a learning curve.
"As the body adapts and gets old," continued Ahmed, "I should be able to recover better, but it's another monkey off my back. Sub-27 has been a long time coming."
The 28-year-old was eighth in 27:02.35 two years ago at London Stadium, where he broke Cam Levins' national mark of 27:07.51, set on May 29, 2015.
Joshua Cheptegei, who finished second to the now-retired Farah at 2017 worlds, won Sunday's race in 26:48.30 to become the first Ugandan man to win the 10,000 at the competition. The 23-year-old was crowned men's world cross-country champion earlier this year and won gold in the 5,000 at last year's Commonwealth Games.
Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia won the silver medal Sunday in a 26:49.34 PB and Rhonex Kipruto clocked 26:52.32 for bronze.
Ahmed, a two-time Olympian, said he's looking forward to getting stronger for the Summer Games in Tokyo next July. The Somalia-born, St. Catharines, Ont.-raised athlete was 32nd and last two years ago in the 10,000 final at Rio in 29:32.84.
Ahmed was challenged in Sunday's race, according to CBC Sports analyst Dave Moorcroft, by the fresh legs of Cheptegei, Kejelcha and Kipruto, who didn't double up in Doha and run the 5,000.
"The world standard is so tough nowadays and there is great depth, and it is only likely to be harder [at the Olympics] in Tokyo, but I think Moh can mix it up with the best," he said.
"In almost all finals at the major championships, there are three Ethiopians and three Kenyans that run as a team. Moh doesn't have that luxury. He holds his place on the inside lane really well, keeps fighting to the end and his concentration levels seen to have improved significantly in the past four years."
Moorcroft wondered if Ahmed is on the verge of "something special" in Tokyo and noted the Canadian has arrived as a serious medal contender, not just a top-five finisher.
"Medal contenders have a different mindset and aura, and I believe Moh has that," said Moorcroft, a two-time Commonwealth Games champion and former world-record holder in the 5,000. "He is now not just a fast runner but also a great racer and he has to believe he can take that to the next level."
Canada DQ'd in women's relay final
Canada's Alicia Brown, Aiyanna-Brigitte Stiverne, Maddy Price and Sage Watson were disqualified for a lane infringement following their fifth-place finish in the 4x400 relay final in 3:25.91, 5-100ths of a second off their season best from Saturday's heats.
Simon Nathan, high performance director with Athletics Canada, contested the ruling but after official review by the International Association of Athletics Federations, the Canadians were penalized for the lane violation on the first exchange between Brown and Stiverne.
Canada was disqualified for violating Rule 163.3, which states, "In all races run in lanes, each athlete shall keep within his [or her] allocated lane from start to finish. This shall also apply to any portion of a race run in lanes."
Jamaica, which crossed the finish line third in a season-best 3:22.37, was initially disqualified and later reinstated to a bronze-medal finish.
Americans Dalilah Muhammad, Sydney McLaughlin, Phyllis Francis and Wadeline Jonathas won in a season world-leading 3:18.92, followed by the Polish foursome that went 3:21.89 to set a national record.
Stiverne and Watson helped Canada win silver at the Pan Am Games on Aug 10 after Canada's foursome of Maya Stephens, Watson, Brown and Price finished fourth at the IAAF World Relays in May.
Despite the disqualification, newcomer Price said the team's performance is a "stepping stone" for the 2020 Olympics next July.
"I know we can be on the podium in Tokyo and it's just awesome running with these girls," said the newest member of the Canadian squad.
Watson, who ran 54.32 seconds in Doha to break the Canadian record in the 400 hurdles, has developed into a talented anchor leg runner, according to CBC Sports analyst Dave Moorcroft.
"The Canadian women have the makings of being in the top five in the world, at least," said the retired 1,500 and 5,000 runner, adding they should use Sunday's DQ as motivation. "The U.S. will be the favourites in Tokyo and Poland always has a strong quartet, but the bronze is up for grabs."
De Grasse's girlfriend wins gold in 100m hurdles
Nia Ali, the girlfriend of Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse, powered to victory in 100-metre hurdles, leading an American one-two finish.
The 2016 Olympic silver medallist blazed across the line in a personal-best time of 12.34 seconds.
World-record holder Kendra Harrison, winner of 10 consecutive races this season, settled for silver in 12.46 edging out Jamaica's 2015 world champion Danielle Williams, who was clocked a 12.47.
The U.S. was denied a possible podium sweep when Olympic champion Brianna McNeal was disqualified in the opening heats after a false start.
De Grasse, 24, won 100 bronze and 200 silver earlier in a three-day span at worlds after winning three medals in Rio. The Markham, Ont., sprinter spent much of the 2017 and 2018 seasons recovering from hamstring injuries.
And the award for most medals goes to ...
The United States. The Americans finished the 10-day competition with 14 gold medals, 11 silver and four bronze for a total 29. Kenya was second in the gold-medal pursuit with five, while Jamaica had the second-best total with 12.
The 2021 world championships will be held in Eugene, Ore.
Timothy Cheruiyot dominated the men's 1,500 final from start to finish for Kenya, breaking away from the pack early on and holding on to win the gold. That ended a run of silver medals for Cheruiyot, who was second at the 2017 world championships and the last two African championships. Taoufik Makhloufi, the 2012 Olympic champion, took silver for Algeria while Marcin Lewandowski of Poland grabbed bronze.
Source: CBC News