After his silver medal at the Olympics and his win in Rotterdam, Abdi Nagy knows he’s one of the contenders for Sunday’s marathon in Eugene. The 33-year-old Dutchman forms a close team with his Belgian friend Bachir Abdi and together they want to write history.
“You will be in Eugene de Abdi against the rest of the world,” Bachir Abdi said in Belgian media last week. Nageeye can agree to this.
“The Ethiopians are working with us. So are the Kenyans. They want to make the marathon difficult and teach us a lesson,” says Nagy, confident. “Anyone can do whatever he wants, just let him come. I’m ready.”
It’s been eleven months since friends Naji and Abdi, both 33-year-olds who fled their native Somalia as children, won silver and bronze medals on the Olympic podium. Abdi didn’t seem to make it to the last metres, until he was able to accelerate, encouraged by Naji.
Only Kenyan world record holder Eliud Kipchoge was faster than Abdis at the Games, but he was not among Eugene. “Of the world champions, only Kipchoge is missing,” says Nagyi. “The field is really strong and that’s why it’s so good that I can cooperate with Bashir. If we go in the back, they will panic. And if we lead the way too. They are watching us.”
Olympic podium: Abdi Nagy (silver), Eliud Kipchoge (gold) and Bashir Abdi (bronze)
Tell my grandchildren something beautiful
Ngaiyi is partially prepared with Bashir to fight for the world title. They trained together for weeks in Somalia for – as Nagy calls it – a unique opportunity for a unique World Cup.
“It has been a long way to connect with the top. Now I have the chance to get a medal in my first ever World Cup in the US. This is something special. If it works out, I will have something beautiful later to tell my grandchildren.”
He doesn’t care that Nageeye could have made more money running the city marathon. “I don’t want to have any regrets at the end of my career. I can’t miss the chance to win a medal at the World Cup.”
Bashir Abdi and Abdi Nagyi after the Rotterdam Marathon.
‘Punished severely in New York’
This will be his first title title for Nagy, who stopped track practice nine years ago, as he was one of the top favorites at the start of the marathon. This creates pressure. “Yes, I feel like something is expected of me. I’m usually at my best.”
Nagy makes the comparison to the New York Marathon in November of last year. He went on to win in the US capital, but was disappointed with a fifth. “I thought: I’m going to do it and I was punished severely for it. I wasn’t sharp.”
In Rotterdam it was already different for Nagyi and it should be done again in Eugene. “I learned from New York. It’s always in my head: Everything I do has to go perfectly on schedule. Twenty minutes of stretching should be good, not half attention. Every workout has to be great and I can’t just skip my afternoon nap.” If everything is perfect in preparation, I will also be perfect in the beginning.”
Because of the heat, the marathon in Eugene begins on Sunday at 6.15 a.m. In the Netherlands at 3:15 pm.
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