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Vienna's Winner Mubbarak Shami meets President of Austria

2005-05-23

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Mubbarak Shami, the winner of Sunday’s Vienna City Marathon, was invited for a reception by the President of Austria, Heinz Fischer. The 24 year-old, who had won his debut marathon in hot weather conditions with a time of 2.12.20, went to see Mr. Fischer together with Vienna’s race director Wolfgang Konrad today (Monday).

At a press conference before the reception Mubbarak Shami, who had switched nationality from Kenya to Qatar eight months ago and was formerly known as Richard Yatich, said: “I always knew that marathon would be my future. In normal conditions I would have run 2.09 on Sunday. Now I believe I am capable of running even faster. My goal is to achieve a time of about 2.07 to 2.08.” But probably that sort of time will have to wait until next year because his next marathon will be at the World Championships. Taking into account the conditions on Sunday Shami could well be in with a surprise in Helsinki.

Mubbarak Shami had shown his potential at shorter distances in recent years. It was last year that he clocked 60:31 in Lisbon’s slightly downhill half marathon. In November 2003 he had won the 15 k race in Nijwegen (Holland) with 42:43 minutes, beating marathon world record holder Paul Tergat (Kenya) by more than a minute.

Mubbarak Shami is coached by Renato Canova. The Italian also coaches the world record holder at 3,000 m steeplechase, Saif Saaeed Shaheen. He is another former Kenyan who runs for Qatar. While starting for Qatar Shami continues living and training in Kenya. He lives with his wife near Eldoret and usually trains in Iten. “Family members still call me Richard – and if I would have children they would be Kenyans.” Shami said that he has a five year contract with the Qatari federation. “Actually the officials of my new federation choose my new name.”

But the winner of the Vienna City Marathon admits that some things have changed due to his new nationality. “The approach from the Kenyan runners is different.” It was obvious in Vienna that the Kenyan runners avoided contact with Mubbarak Shami. “But for my family nothing has changed.”


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