In a summer that saw several Canadian athletics records fall, the latest to go is the men’s 5,000 metres courtesy of Mo Ahmed in Brussels on Friday.
The Pan Am Games champion shaved more than three seconds off the 13 minutes and 13.96-second mark set by Jeff Schiebler 17 years ago. Ahmed’s 13:10.00 arrived as he finished the last IAAF Diamond League race of the season in 12th place in a star-studded field that featured the silver and bronze medallists from this summer’s world championships in Beijing.
The winner, Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia (who was fourth in the world at Beijing), ran 12:53.98 – the fastest time recorded this year. Ahmed had finished 12th at the world championships as well, 10 seconds behind the winner Mo Farah of Great Britain, who did not race in Belgium. Speed was the objective at the Van Damme track meet, where 13 runners achieved a season’s best at minimum in the men’s 5,000m, six of whom – including Kejelcha and Ahmed – ran personal bests.
Other Canadian records to fall recently include Melissa Bishop in the women’s 800m at Beijing and Damian Warner, bettering Canada’s decathlon mark twice this year, first at the Pan Am Games and then at the world championships.
Another Canadian who had a strong performance in Brussels is world champion pole vaulter Shawn Barber. His 5.85-metre clearance was well shy of his national record of 5.93m (another standard set this year), giving Barber second place behind Renaud Lavillienie of France, the world bronze medallist in Beijing.