In the final stages of the men’s competition, Nagyer of the Netherlands cheered and encouraged his exhausted Belgian training partner Bashir Abdi. This gesture was enough to make them both on the podium. Nageeye won the silver medal at 2:09:58 and Abdi won the bronze medal at 2:10:00.
The moving performance of sportsmanship is broadcast worldwide.
The performance of the two seemed to inspire refugee communities everywhere, because Nageeye and Abdi were both born in Somalia, and they fled the country when they were young.
“I am more focused on him,” Nageeye continued. “I have a feeling that I am very confident that I will be second. I just want to help him. He finished third. Then we did. Then when you finished it, all the emotions came.”
As the world’s largest marathon event, 33,000 runners will stand on the starting line of the 50th edition of the event, and the race will pass through the five administrative districts of New York: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Manhattan.
Nageeye will be one of them-he made the headlines of the men’s open group with the Tokyo silver medal.
The Dutchman finished 11th in the 2016 Rio Olympic Marathon and entered the top 10 in the Boston Marathon twice. He also holds national records for marathons and half marathons.
“I think the New York Marathon is the El Clásico of track and field for me,” Nageeye said.
“I think this is the greatest marathon after the Olympics and the World Championships.”
In the men’s open category, there is also Kenenisa Bekele from Ethiopia. She is a four-time Olympic medalist and will make her debut in New York.
Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie and Britain’s Callum Hawkins will also make their debut in the New York Marathon.
Unforgettable moments in Tokyo
When the Olympics came to an end 500 miles north of Tokyo, the host, Nageeye played his entire life on the streets of Sapporo.
He completed a near-perfect race. Although his attempt to chase the ultimate gold medalist and legendary marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge failed, Nageeye’s efforts still paid off.
With less than one kilometer left in the game, Kipchoge’s Kenyan teammates Lawrence Cherono, Najii and Abdi competed for the last two medals.
Suddenly, Nageeye seemed to slow down and visibly waved to his Belgian friend. When Abdi found a new step and began to surpass Cerono to win the bronze medal, this encouragement seemed to toggle the switch.
“I still remember that day. I knew it was a difficult day and a long sprint would kill him,” Nageeye said of his training partner.
“If it is 200 meters, we start to sprint to the finish line, it will hurt him because he has a lot of cramps and he is really tired. I just want to shorten the sprint time as much as possible.”
The power of sportsmanship
The Netherlands won the second medal in the Olympic Marathon, and Tokyo’s result ranked Nageeye as one of the best runners in the world.
But the final moments of the event will consolidate his reputation in history. Nageeye said that the decision to encourage his competitors was instinctive.
“As I have experienced in the past, someone is always helping me,” Nageeye explained.
“I think my nature now is to try to help others.”
In addition to his athletic pursuits, Nageeye continues to encourage Somali youth through his foundation.
The 32-year-old said that he hopes that the Abdi Nageeye Foundation can provide the younger generation with opportunities to play sports in a safe outdoor environment.
“I grew up in the Netherlands, and when I was young you could do whatever you want. Currently, this is impossible in Somalia.”
Nageeye also believes that sports facilities are an important contribution his foundation can provide to young athletes.
“You can tell them to run, but you should have a place to run and a place to play, otherwise what can they do? I really hope to help them.”
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