BEIJING: Mo Farah etched his name in the pantheon of middle distance running greats and put a tough season opening behind him yesterday when he defended his 10,000m title at the world championships in Beijing. The Briton’s victory was his sixth consecutive global track distance title, an unprecedented feat that saw him better the likes of Ethiopian legends Kenenisa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie. “It was amazing to be able to go out there, cross the line and defend my title,” said Farah after winning in a time of 27 minutes, 01.13 seconds. “It hasn’t been an easy year, but I let my running do the talking. My victory is for my family and the people behind and supporting me,” added the London Olympic champion, who has faced criticism this year after his American coach Alberto Salazar became embroiled in a doping controversy. “Tonight winning meant so much to me.
Obviously all that stuff kicked off and it wasn’t easy but I had to deal with it-it’s what comes with being a role model.” Since losing to Ibrahim Jeilan in the 10,000m at the 2011 worlds in Daegu, Farah rebounded to win the 5,000m in South Korea and followed up with 5,000m-10,000m doubles at both the London 2012 Olympics and the 2013 world championships in Moscow. Having now defended his title here, he will have a chance to make it seven global titles in the 5,000m, scheduled for next Saturday. “I’ll just get a nice bath, recover, eat well and go now and rest up,” Farah said. “I just get to keep doing what I’m good at and that is running and winning medals for my country. ‘Go hard or go home’ is a phrase I say to myself.
I just have to concentrate on winning my races.” Should he complete a Beijing double, he would become the first man to complete a 5,000 and 10,000m double at consecutive world championships. Farah won ahead of Kenyans Geoffrey Kamworor (27:01.76) and Paul Tanui (27.02.83). “Hats off to them,” said Farah. “They made it very hard for me. To push that hard in windy conditions and in this humidity for 27 minutes. They tried something different. It was close but not close enough.” A gentle early pace was set by Japan-based Tanui, Farah happy to sit near the back of the pack. With 16 laps to go, the Somali-born Farah gently moved up through the field on the tail of American training partner Galen Rupp and behind Ethiopia’s Imane Merga and the Kenyans. Soon that lead pack was cut to five, Merga dropping out to leave just Kamworor, Tanui, Rupp, Farah and Merga. Farah, known for his blistering last-lap pace, made his move with 500m to go, moving slickly to the front and peeling away. He was almost tripped, Farah saying: “I nearly went down, but I managed to stay on my feet and win the race.” Although tracked by the fastfinishing Kamworor and Tanui, the Londoner held on for victory that made up for his Bird’s Nest outing at the 2008 Olympics, when he failed to qualify and suffered what described as the “biggest disappointment” in his career. The comprehensive win will also help Farah bury some headlines he has made for the wrong reasons in recent months after Salazar was accused of violating several anti-doping rules, notably involving Rupp. Salazar has denied all the accusations against him and Farah, who was not accused of any wrongdoing, has vowed to stick by his coach unless any allegations are proven. Rupp went on to finish fifth (27:08.91). —AFP