Moh Ahmed of Canada, centre, reacts after winning the silver medal in the Men’s 5000m final during the summer Tokyo Olympics in Tokyo, Japan on Friday, August 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Moh Ahmed of Canada, centre, reacts after winning the silver medal in the Men’s 5000m final during the summer Tokyo Olympics in Tokyo, Japan on Friday, August 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Canada’s Moh Ahmed races to silver in 5,000 metres at Tokyo Games

Canada’s first Olympic medal in the men’s 5,000

TOKYO — Canada’s Moh Ahmed has won a silver medal with a gutsy effort in the men’s 5,000 metres at the Tokyo Olympics.

Ahmed ran a fast final lap and challenged Joshua Cheptegei, the world record holder in the distance, for the gold on the final stretch, but couldn’t catch the Ugandan.

Cheptegei finished in 12 minutes 58.15 seconds followed by Ahmed at 12:58.61.

Paul Chelimo of the United States took bronze in 12:59.05.

It’s , and it’s fitting that Ahmed delivered it.

The 30-year-old runner from St. Catharines, Ont., has blazed a trail for Canadian distance runners on the global scene in the past few years.

His bronze in the 5,000 at the 2019 world championships in Doha, Qatar, was the country’s first world championship medal in a distance event.

Last summer, he sliced 11 seconds off his own Canadian record, running 12:47.20 seconds in a high-performance meet in Portland, where he trains with the Bowerman Track Club.

It was also a North American record, and saw Ahmed crack the top 10 all-time in that distance in the world.

Ahmed opened the Tokyo Olympics with a sixth place in the 10,000 metres, taking the lead with less than two laps to go before running out of gas over the final 300 metres.

Justyn Knight of Toronto finished seventh in 13:04.38.

The 25-year-old went a year without racing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But at the Golden Gala in June in Florence, Italy, in his first 5,000 since the 2019 world championships, he slashed 18 seconds off his personal best time, and became the second North American in history behind Ahmed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 6, 2021.

Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics