MOSCOW: Briton Mo Farah was pushed all the way in an ultimately well-executed victory in the men’s 10,000m at the world championships on Saturday to carry on where he left off at last year’s London Olympics.
The Somali-born 30-year-old clocked 27min 21.72sec in his first outing since his victory in the British capital over the 25-lap race, the longest around the track in athletics’ biennial showpiece.
Ibrahim Jeilan of Ethiopia, who outsprinted Farah for the title in Daegu, won silver in 27:22.23, with early pace-setting Kenyan Paul Tanui taking bronze (27:22.61).
“I had the experience of a couple of years ago. This time I saw Jeilan coming,” said Farah.
“I almost went down a few times but I covered every move and me and my training partner (Galen Rupp) worked together.
“I was digging in and digging in, looking across. I knew I had won only when I crossed the line.”
Farah had become one of the faces of the London Games after he claimed double gold in the 5,000 and 10,000m, a year after sealing a gold and silver in the Daegu worlds in the events respectively.
“It was great to come here and win the one that was missing,” he said.
“This is the best thing because you don’t want to be away from your family too long.”
Farah came 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.
Tanui took up the early running, with Farah happy to sit 30 metres away at the back of the pack for the opening laps.
After six laps, Farah floated effortlessly to the front of the pack, quickly overtaken by Ethiopians Abera Kuma and Imane Merga — fifth and third in Daegu two years ago, and then Tanui and his teammate Kenneth Kipkemoi.
Halfway through the race, Farah again made a move up the field and with eight laps to go, he was sat in second with Tanui and Kuma still shouldering the pace-setting work.
Like a good ‘domestique’ in the world of cycling, Galen Rupp, Farah’s training partner under Alberto Salazar in Portland, Oregon, and silver medallist at the London Games, moved into second.
Farah slid gratefully into his slipstream as the leading pack bunched in anticipation of an accelerating burst from someone in the field.
The 14-man lead pack were led through 21 laps by Farah, all elbows and eyes down to avert straying spikes in the hustle and bustle of a delicately-measured race.
Farah was forced out wide to regain his place up front as the pace upped and went through the bell ahead of a five-strong group.
The Briton had a straight run down the far stretch, but sprint-clever Jeilan, who did not compete in London, made his move with 250 metres to go.
But there was to be no repeat of Daegu two years ago as Farah, gritted teeth and formbook out of the window, held on to go through the line for gold.
It was the first time that a Kenyan or Ethiopian has not won the event since the inaugural world champs in Helsinki in 1983, when Italian Alberto Cova claimed victory.
Jeilan was magnanimous in defeat: “Everyone comes to win gold. I expected myself to be in first place but I was not lucky today.
“But I’m happy with my silver after a month out with abdomen problems.”
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