• Abdi, who is sponsored by the East Africa Bank and the Dahabshil Group of Companies, said he is learning a lot from the 37-year-old Farah as he seeks to follow in his footsteps and become an Olympic champion in the future.
Somali-born Belgian long-distance runner Bashir Abdi shared glowing tributes of multiple Olympic champion Mo Farah after the Briton beat him at the inaugural Djibouti half marathon championship at the weekend.
Abdi, who is sponsored by the East Africa Bank and the Dahabshil Group of Companies, said he is learning a lot from the 37-year-old Farah as he seeks to follow in his footsteps and become an Olympic champion in the future.
“Farah is always inspiring to every young upcoming athlete. He is our leader and always shows us the right direction. I also appreciate the support we have from corporates like East Africa Bank, who are helping build sports in this part of Africa,” said Abdi.
At the event attended by Djibouti President, Ismail Omar Guelleh, government ministers and high-level delegations from the region, Farah opened up his season with victory as he sets focus on defending his 10,000m title for the second time at the Tokyo Olympic Games in July. Farah won the race in 63 minutes and seven seconds.
Abdi, the four-time Olympic champion’s training partner, finished four seconds back. This was the first time Farah had raced since winning the Antrim Coast half-marathon on September 12, 2020.
Abdi also owns the 20km world record, set on the same Brussels track event where Farah broke the one-hour mark. The two were in a class of their own, setting a one-minute gap ahead of the third-placed and local runner Moumin Bouh.
Sweden’s David Nilsson (64:06) and Djibouti’s Jamal Dirieh (64:22) closed the top five places.
Abdi, the 2018 European Athletics Championships silver medallist over 10,000m is hoping to grace this year’s Olympic Games to follow up on his debut at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he finished 20th in the 25-lap race.
The weekend race overcame the challenges posed by the current global health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic to welcome hundreds of spectators including local athletics enthusiast fan Ali Yusuf.
“We are so proud to have international and local athletes run in this half marathon. We are grateful to everyone who made it possible. By doing so, such institutions show they care about the youth, sport and development opportunities,” observed Yusuf.