Mo Farah stood in disbelief and rather hazy as he gazed around trying to make out what has happened after the end of the men’s 10000m final. He had turned equal to the challenge, fashioned a superb performance bearing all the marks and qualities of a great champion and knocked down one after the other every single top rival on the way, looking as though heading to a comprehensive victory around 250m out. And yet there he stood having to be content with silver as relatively unknown and non-fancied Ibrahim Jeilan, he among all his way more renowned countrymen, suddenly felt inspired to unleash a storming last 300m that saw him pip the European champion in the dying stages.

The young Ethiopian was no slouch by any means holding a PB of 27:02.81 as a 17-year-old back in 2006, winning the World U20 title in Beijing, and a global U20 cross-country champion in Edinburgh in 2008. Further, in hindsight, there may have been a sound ground behind his astounding success that was overlooked; he seems to be spending a great deal of time and racing in neighbouring Japan, hence more suited to the conditions that appear to have affected very much every other competitor around the arena. Unfortunately, that is part of the game too.

So has Mo stumbled upon a potential nemesis at the time that he has shrugged off every top tier name around, including great Kenenisa Bekele who sadly stepped off the track halfway through? Not necessarily. Young and talented though the Ethiopian may be, there are comets that come to blaze bright and then fizzle out so often and he will have to back his triumph up, which may turn a even more daunting task than pulling off that shocker today. Moreover, let’s not forget that Mo joined Alberto Salazar‘s camp in Oregon only midway through the winter so he may have not yet fully bedded in all the elements and gains of his training. A second, full winter is going to spell and effect a lot more in this respect while next summer he is going to entertain his rivals on his own ground; London. So there is a great deal of the plot to shape up yet.

Of course, a silver medal in such a highly quality and competitive event is no mean feat by any means, that is a wonderful achievement that Farah can take all the pride in the world in. A year ago he would have grabbed that with both hands without a second thought. So if there have been mixed feelings about him, or among his supporters, it only serves to show how far he has come since. On top of that, his golden dream is not over yet as he has got still the option of the 5000m before him so hopefully he is going to have fully recovered and have his appetite sharpened by the time the heats get underway on Thursday morning. Incidentally, that was the first British medal in the men’s distances since Jack Buckner‘s bronze over 5000m in Rome 1987 and first ever over the distance contested.

Racewise, Farah’s only slight mistake could have been that he went a little too early and too hard at the bell where a more gradual winding up of the pace could have set him up nicely for a stronger kick home and have something to respond when he came under fierce attack at the end. But full credit to Jeilan who believed he could pull it off and was duly rewarded in gold in the end, edging slightly ahead of the Briton in 27:13.81 to 27:14.07. Imane Merga‘s ‘killing elbows’ were third well behind in 27:19.14, with Zersenay Tadesse (ERI) following on in fourth in 27:22.57, while the Kenyans hardly played any part by stark contrast to their female counterparts overwhelming clean sweep in the women’s respective final yesterday.

Full result:

http://daegu2011.iaaf.org/ResultsByDate.aspx?racedate=08-28-2011/sex=M/discCode=10K/combCode=hash/roundCode=f/results.html#detM_10K_hash_f

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