Britain’s Mo Farah outfoxed the fast-paced Kenyan team tactics to become the second man to achieve the double of world and Olympics 5,000 and 10,000 metres titles at the world championships on Friday.
Farah, who won an emotional double gold at the Olympics last year in the Somalia-born athlete’s adopted home city of London, produced a courageous display to win the 10,000m last Saturday and needed all his wits about him in the shorter race.
He emulated Kenenisa Bekele’s double at the 2009 worlds in Berlin, which followed his victories in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Farah clocked 13min 26.98sec, with Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet taking silver in 13:27.26 in a photo-finish from bronze medallist, Kenyan Isiah Koech.
It's something I have worked very hard for. I was thinking about the kids and being away from them for so long
“It’s something I have worked very hard for. I was thinking about the kids and being away from them for so long,” said Farah, who trains under Alberto Salazar in Portland, Oregon.
“The twins didn’t recognise me. I have been away so long and they are growing so fast.
“It was harder than last year, but I have a great team. I couldn’t achieve this without them.
“There was a lot of pressure but I enjoyed it and I am proud to hold the Union Jack.”
As expected, the Kenyans adopted a different race strategy, Koech and Thomas Longosiwa setting a blazing pace in the first two laps and shooting out to build up a 40-metre lead in a bid to disrupt the Briton’s rhythm.
But Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris led the peloton in reeling them in. At 2000m, as he had done twice in the 10,000m, Farah moved to the front of the pack with the express intention of slowing the pace.
It worked as the field bunched once again in double file and the lap paces dropped dramatically.
Koech again moved to the front of the pack and accelerated away, followed by Ethiopian Yenew Alamirew, with Longosiwa on Farah’s shoulder.
With four laps to race, Galen Rupp, Farah’s training partner under Salazar, and silver medallist at the London Games, moved into second, but was quickly boxed in by the advancing east Africans.
Farah found himself without his pace-setting partner, who had worked like a good ‘domestique’ in the world of cycling in helping to guide the Briton to victory in the 10,000m race.
Alamirew took up the running, but Farah then quickened the pace with 650 metres to go.
The field did not drop off, however, with Koech matching Farah down the back strait.
Pryce is right
But Farah had come to Moscow in prime form having opted to step down his distances in competitive meets to hone his speed, sealing an unlikely European record in the 1500m in Monaco, his time of 3:28.81 credited as the sixth-fastest ever run.
And rounding the final bend into the home strait, Farah nudged ahead of Koech and Longosiwa.
Gebrhiwet’s perseverance paid off as he nipped Koech for silver in a late surge, Longosiwa running out of steam at the death.
|Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won comfortably after main rival Allyson Felix pulled up with injury [GALLO/GETTY]|
“I was not in great shape today and that’s why I ran behind for most of the race and only accelerated in the final stages,” said Gebrhiwet.
Koech added: “We Kenyans planned with our team to run the race together. But at the end I ran my own race.”
Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce became the third athlete to achieve the women’s sprint double by winning the 200m title.
The 26-year-old – who regained her 100m title on Monday – timed 22.17 seconds while 100m silver medalist Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast took silver in a photo finish with Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare, both of whom timed 22.32.
Three-time champion Allyson Felix of the United States failed to finish collapsing dramatically onto the track coming round the bend into the home straight.
While the 27-year-old lay prone on the track, her dreams of setting an all-time world championship gold tally record of nine in ruins, Fraser-Pryce strode to the line untroubled.
Crossing the finishing line she clapped as well she might, joining East Germans Silke Gladisch (1987) and Katrin Krabbe (1991) in completing the double.
The United States defended their title in the men’s 4×400-meter relay. David Verburg, Tony McQuay, Arman Hall and LaShawn Merritt won the race in 2 minutes, 58.71 seconds. Jamaica was second in 2:59.88 and Russia were third in 2:59.90.
David Storl of Germany retained his title in the men’s shot put as did Olympic champion Tatyana Lysenko of Russia who set a world championship record in the women’s hammer.
And there was more success for Russia in the long jump with Aleksandr Menkov clearing 28 feet, 4 1/2 inches on his fifth attempt to take gold.