SIMPLYHEALTH GREAT BIRMINGHAM RUN
KADAR ABDULLAHI STRIDES TO A SOGGY VICTORY IN BIRMINGHAM AS NICOLA SYKES ENJOYS SOME HOME COMFORTS
Kadar Abdullahi and Nicola Sykes win over 13.1 miles on a wet day in the Midlands
KADAR ABDULLAHI is hoping athletics can help point toward a bright future and take him away from the troubles of his past. In Birmingham, the 22-year-old certainly took another sizeable step on what has been a remarkable journey.
The man who is currently competing for Birchfield Harriers fled his native Ethiopia for Kenya with his uncle and brother at the age of 13.
He was in a refugee camp until his athletics talent was recognised and he found himself featuring in the 5000m heats and ran alongside Mo Farah at last year’s IAAF World Championships in London as part of the refugee team which was given an opportunity to compete at the highest level.
Abdullahi has since made running his life and is now hopeful of being granted asylum in the UK.
He certainly looked very
much at home in the West Midlands.
In the absence of pre-race favourite Tsegai Tewelde – who was unable to make the start line due to travel problems brought on by Storm Callum – Abdullahi won in 66:06 at his first attempt over the 13.1-mile distance in cold and extremely wet conditions.
His friend and club-mate Omar Ahmed followed eight seconds behind, with Tipton Harrier Ian Williams third in 69:40.
“I was a refugee in Kenya,” says Abdullahi, who clocked 14:18.20 for 5000m on the track earlier this year.
“I fled due to the persecution and violence that was going on. I lived in a refugee camp before I was identified as one of the talented prospects by the UNHCR (the UN’s refugee agency) and supported by the IAAF and IOC.
“We were given an opportunity to run for the refugees and we were really grateful for it, to be part of a competition like the World Championships. It was a dream come true to come to London and compete.”
He continues: “I did great, running with an Olympic champion like Mo Farah. Just running with him, it was such a good experience, and since then I have made running my life. It has given me hope.”
He adds: “I am still an asylum seeker after I received threats after competing at the World Championships in London. I’m still waiting for my case to be sorted out but I’m hopeful that will happen.
“Everyone deserves to live peacefully. As a refugee you feel a lot of threats and you feel fear but running gives me hope and it’s my identity. I am able to communicate with the world when I am able to go and run. I love running.
“I don’t want to live somewhere where I don’t feel safe or I’m persecuted.”
He explains: “That’s why I came to the UK and I pray that everything will be sorted out.”
Someone with considerably more knowledge of running on the streets of Birmingham is Nicola Sykes, the Bournville Harrier who took the women’s title in a time of 79:57. Sykes was followed home by defending champion Chloe Richardson of Birchfield in
81:58 while third place went to Nuneaton’s Alison Taylor (82:57).
Sykes is a PE teacher as well as a club coach at Bournville and she said after her victory: “This is like my home run and there was great support all over the course. I knew that if I ran well I could win so I was really pleased.”
Kadar Abdullahi: Ethiopianrefugee handled the wet conditions to win in 66:06
One-two-three (left to right): Kadar Abdullahi, Omar Ahmed and Ian Williams
Nicola Sykes: women’s winner