Mo Farah mounts top of the world in awesome fashion
Blisters?… What blisters?… Or was it a bad line and was blistering that he meant prior to a cracking 5000m final? Because that is what Mo Farah turned in the late stages as he poured on the pace down the home straight and away from his rivals to claim eternal glory and his first ever global title in emphatic fashion. He wasn’t going to miss out on gold a second time this time round.
In fact, the shaping up of the final looked to work more towards the benefit of Bernard Lagat (USA), the Briton’s greatest rival, and his wealth of speed most of the way as he was sitting comfortably amidst a large pack cruising through mainly over 2:40 splits, the first km in a nearly pedestrian 2:50.90, with things getting a little lively only over a 2:38.10 third km led by Hussain Jamaan Alhamdah (KSA) to suggest a fierce burn-up at the end. There were concerns over the effects of that demanding 10000m final a week before but gradually waned off as the race wore on since Farah kept looking good and always keeping a hold on proceedings.
The affair did not catch real fire, though, until he made his trademark move to the front over the last 800m with groupmate Gallen Rupp moving briefly alongside in a fine tactical stroke to shield him from surges past coming to the bell. The Ethiopians finally got round the American, with Lagat following on their coattails, to place immense pressure on Farah mainly through swift-of-foot Dejen Gebremeskel as the race wound up on the back straight but the Briton held his ground decisively on the inside and coming off the top bend he unleashed a powerful turn of pace that immediately fashioned plenty of daylight on his pursuers.
Lagat, screened by the Ethiopians round the bend, surged past into the home straight but by that time Farah had gained a crucial edge of around 3m and was storming through to an emphatic victory in 13:23.36 against the American’s 13:23.64 for runner-up, covering the last km in a searing 2:27.96 and last 400m in 52.87 in a supreme demonstration of speed. Elated, but also overwhelmed by what he had just achieved, he kept kissing the track and could not find the strength to get up and it was Lagat, in a great display of sportsmanship, that came first to congratulate and help the new champion up on his feet to begin the lap of honour.
That was Britain’s first ever distance gold in the history of the championships and first medal since Jack Buckner‘s bronzze in Rome 1987 to bring Farah’s quest of global supremacy to a spectacular end and vindicate Alberto Salazar‘s claims and vision that he could end the African dominance in the distances. On top of that, he is lying now in the perfect place to strike for the ultimate prize of an athlete, Olympic gold on the home soil of London.
Imane Merga (ETH) crossed the line third to initially get hold of bronze but was swiftly disqualified having shoved off a couple of Kenyans on the way a la Monaco, where he knocked Rupp and Chris Solinsky off the race, for the medal to pass eventually to Gebremeskiel (13:23.92), with U20 Kenyan Isiah Kiplagat Koech fourth in 13.24.95.
Christian Taylor knits together a staggering 17.96m to deny Phillips Idowu a second world title in the triple jump