Fleeing Somalia with his brother to settle in the Netherlands aged six, few then could have predicted the defining role running would have played in the life of Abdi Nageeye.
After spending four years in the Netherlands his brother than took him to Syria for three years and then for a spell back on his parents’ farm in Somalia. Desperately missing the Netherlands he fled his homeland via Ethiopia and settled in the Dutch village of Oldebroek, where he was brought up by his adopted family.
He initially played football but after running 17 minutes on his 5km debut aged 17 he opted to join a local athletics club. He made rapid progress in his new-found sport and aged 18 made his international debut in the junior race at the European Cross Country Championships. In 2009 he impressed to place fourth in the 5000m at the European U23 Championships and seventh in the U23 race at the European Cross Country Championships.
In more recent times, Abdi has shifted his focus to the road and in 2013 set a 10km PB of 28:08 in Brunssum before the following year making his marathon debut in Enschede, recording a rock solid 2:11:33 for third.
Abdi claimed the scalp of two-time World marathon champion and Global Sports Communication stablemate Abel Kirui to place eighth in the 2015 Amsterdam Marathon, where he significantly cracked the Olympic qualification mark with a time of 2:10:24.
He finished a highly creditable 11th in the 2016 Olympic Marathon in Rio (2:13:01) – before enjoying the best year of his career so far in 2017.
In April’s Rotterdam Marathon, 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 rising status.
The 2019 campaign has been his strongest to date. In February he romped to a Dutch half marathon record of 60:24 en route to victory in Marugame, Japan. Then in the Rotterdam Marathon he made a huge advance, slashing almost two minutes from his previous PB by registering 2:06:17 for fourth.
Did You Know?
Abdi is a skilled linguist and can speak five languages – Somali, Dutch, Arabic, English and Amharic.