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Abdi Aims for Junior Trials

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Abdirisak Ahmed


23 June 2009

Abdirisak Ahmed insists missing out on July’s European Junior Championships is not an option as he continues his return to fitness.

The 18-year-old long-distance runner has been tipped for stardom by many, including European Indoor Champion Mo Farah but is facing the biggest challenge of his fledgling career as he battles to overcome a string of injuries that have curtailed his progress.

The All Saints Sixth Form College pupil was on course to add the Commonwealth Youth Games title to his list of 2008 honours last October before injury struck ahead of the final, while he has since suffered with growing pains that have affected his ability to train and compete.

But after returning to competitive action at the BMC Nike Grand Prix in Watford earlier this month, Ahmed is fully focused on putting a difficult few months behind him and qualifying for the showpiece junior event of the year at next weekend’s trials in Bedford.

“Things are going really well at the moment, I haven’t been doing a great deal just training hard in preparation for the Under-20 Championships,” said Ahmed, who this year has been re-selected for the Original Source-funded UKA Heroes project.

“I had the experience of going to the Commonwealth Youth Games last year so to miss out on the European’s this year isn’t worth thinking about. I came away with some really positive experiences in India and I hope to put them to good use.

“The aim in Bedford is to finish first, win it and give the selectors no choice but to pick me for the European Juniors.

“I will be competing in the 5,000m – that is what I did last year and that is what I want to do again. I have to hit the qualifying standard as well as win but I am not sure what happens if I don’t manage to do that.

“But it won’t be easy – I know I am not the only one that wants to get on that plane and everybody in my race will want to qualify.”

Ahmed, who is originally from Somalia, was far from his best in Watford the other week finishing 13th in the 5,000m in a time of 14.51.48 minutes, 13 seconds below the personal best he set just over 12 months earlier.

But despite failing to hit the lofty heights that have seen him claim the UK School Games, England championships and English School’s 3000m titles last year, Ahmed admitted it is a case of taking things one step at a time.

“I had my first track outing for about six months last weekend in Watford and it was good to get out there and finally race after my injury problems,” he added.

“It was a good test of where I am and where I need to be – I was pleased with the first couple of laps of the race but as it progressed things started taking their toll.

“But it was a good experience and one I needed to do if I am to retain my Under-20 title.

“So we will see how it goes I won’t be changing my running style or approaching the race any different. I know I have to win the race because the championships are the trials as well.”

UKA Heroes project sponsored by Original Source is a successful initiative which offers financial support to talented young athletes who are working towards the 2012 and 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.