Talent Abdi Salam Ali.

In this interview, the talented runner talks about his plans for the future.

Thanks to his incredible achievements as an under-20s runner, Abdi Salam Ali has received a Generali Running Family talent sponsorship. And he has a lot of plans for the future.

Abdi, when did you know you wanted to be a professional runner?

When I was younger, I played a lot of football. After arriving in Switzerland, I wanted to continue investing in becoming a really good player and joined the local football club, the FC Erlenbach. In April 2018, the Zollikon Centre for Unaccompanied Minors suggested I take part in the Zurich City Run. I ended up winning the race without really having to try very hard. That’s when I realised that I really love running. I was then introduced to my current coach, Marco Rancan, and joined the Uster Athletics Club (LC Uster). I gradually started training more regularly and achieved increasingly better times. After winning the 10 km Swiss Championships in Uster in March 2019, I decided that I wanted running to be more than just a hobby for me. From that moment on, I started to train hard and to dream of becoming a professional runner. In parallel to my running, I am also in the process of completing an apprenticeship as a Facilities Maintenance Specialist and look forward to becoming financially independent soon.

Tell us a little bit more about your running career.

I started in athletics in 2018. Thanks to my excellent performance, I was able to attend a sports and art school from 2019. I then completed a vocational foundation year at the Viventa school in Zurich before starting my apprenticeship as a Facilities Maintenance Specialist at the Herrenbergli retirement and care home in Zurich. My employer makes sure I have plenty of time to train and I am very grateful for that. Since turning 18, I have been living in a shared flat in Zurich Wiedikon and now spend all my free time on the running track.

How did you become part of the Generali Running Family?

Marco Rancan, my trainer at the LC Uster, also works as a coach for the Generali Running Family running group in Zurich. When he invited me to not only join the team, but also to work with him to train them, I jumped at the offer. He has been helping me a lot and I would really like to give something back and share my knowledge with other young people. Later on, Generali asked me if I would like to be sponsored as a talent, which I was very pleased about. This is a great opportunity and I would like to thank Generali for their trust and support.

What is your current goal?

Switzerland only has a few athletes my age. My plan is to take part in races abroad to measure myself against the international competition. I am currently training to take part in the 10K Valencia Ibercaja. My aim is to run these 10 kilometres in under 30 minutes. In the long run, I would love to be able to represent Switzerland in the Olympics, just as Tadesse Abraham did. If, on top of that, I could also meet my role model, the runner Mohamed Farah, I would be ecstatic! Mohamed is from Somalia, just like me, and his story is also similar to mine. That is, he came to running through football and runs the same distances as I do. And he already has four Olympic titles!

Abdi Salam Ali

Abdi Salam Ali

Gifted runner

His performance on the track, positive attitude and determination make Abdi a great role model for other runners. He wants to become a professional runner, is extremely disciplined, has both feet firmly on the ground and is very focussed on his goals.