This is our fourth COROS Athletes Watch, and the focus is Abdi Nageeye, the Olympic silver medalist from Belgium. Abdi Nageeye will be running the marathon at the World Championships on Sunday, July 16, 2022, at 6:15 AM Local time. This is Abdi’s first competition at the World Athletics Outdoor Championships.
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Abdi Nageeye set to make his world championships marathon debut in Eugene
When Somali-born Dutch runner Abdi Nageeye shifted his focus to road running in 2013 and set a 10km Personal Best of 28:08 in Brunssum before the following year making his marathon debut in Enschede, recording a rock solid 2:11:33 for third, he didn’t envisage it will take him another nine years to make his marathon debut at the World Championships.
In that time frame, Nageeye has had on and off seasons on the road, with arguably his best years coming in 2017, 2019 and 2021.
Before his breakthrough year in 2017, Nageeye finished in a respectable 11th in the 2016 Olympic Marathon in Rio, clocking 2:13:01. Arguably, that moment proved watershed for him as it shaped him into a better runner.
In April’s Rotterdam Marathon in 2017, Abdi posted a new lifetime best of 2:09:34 for ninth before finishing his year on a high, setting a Dutch ten-mile record of 46:26 in Tilburg and claiming a new national marathon record of 2:08:16 in Amsterdam to further cement his meteoric rise.
The 2019 campaign has been his strongest to date. In February, he romped to a Dutch half marathon record of 1:00.24, claiming victory in Marugame, Japan. He then followed that up with another outstanding performance at the Rotterdam Marathon, slashing almost two minutes from his previous NR by registering 2:06:17 for fourth.
However, 2021 was the year he made headlines after winning Silver at the Tokyo Olympics in the men’s marathon at 2:09:58 inside the scorching heat in Sapporo, behind marathon great Eluid Kipchoge.
Nageeye hugged the headlines, too, as in the dying stages of the race, Nageeye cheered and encouraged his exhausted Belgian training partner Bashir Abdi. The gesture was enough to lift Abdi to a podium finish, securing bronze at 2:10:00.
The pair’s performance seemed to inspire refugee communities everywhere, as both Nageeye and Abdi were born in Somalia, a country from which they fled at age six.
“My goal was to get the medal and to do that with my teammate Bashir Abdi; it was a dream,” Nageeye told CNN Sport from Kenya’s High Altitude Training Centre in November 2021.
“I was more concentrated on him,” Nageeye continued. “I had that feeling that I had a lot of confidence that I will be number two, and I was just trying to help him, that he finished number three. And then we did it. And then all the emotion came when you finish it.”
Heading into Eugene, Nageeye knows fully well that the absence of Kipchoge will put him in firm contention after racing once this year in his homeland. But there will be competition. A very stiff one.
Nageeye’s only race this year came in April, where he triumphed in a thrilling finish in the NN Rotterdam Marathon to become the first ever Dutch winner of the men’s race since it was first held in 1981.
Nageeye also capped the occasion by lowering his Dutch record to 2:04:56, which moves him to third on the European all-time list behind his good friend, fellow Olympic medalist and reigning champion Abdi (2:03:36), and Turkey’s Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (2:04:16). He improved his previous national record of 2:06:17 set in 2019 when he finished fourth in Rotterdam.
The race in Eugene will be very open. Although he enters this year’s field as the fourth fastest in the field this year behind Ethiopia’s duo of Tamirat Tola and Mosinet Geremew, Nageeye knows his biggest threat will come in the mould of defending champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and two-time Boston marathon Champion Lawrence Cherono.
Running at major championships takes great skill to get on the podium. Getting your tactics right and ensuring your opponents don’t steal a march on you is really crucial. Nageeye is fully aware of that after his exploits in Tokyo last year. Now, the world championships are up next on his to-do list to conquer.
Abdi Nageeye, a member of the NN Racing Team, is sponsored by COROS.
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