LONDON – British athletics legend Mo Farah won his 10th successive global title on Friday winning the 10 000 metres crown at the IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium where he won Olympic gold in 2012.
The 34-year-old, who will bid to add a third successive world double in the 5 000m later in the championships, had a narrow escape from disaster on the final lap when he was clipped twice, but somehow kept his balance to prevail.
Ugandan youngster Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda took silver and Paul Tanui of Kenya claimed bronze, with Farah having once again foiled their respective nations’ tactics.
“It makes me proud to be British. It’s been a long journey, it’s been incredible,” said Farah who was accompanied by his family on a lap of honour.
“It’s been hard, but I’m just mentally strong, I guess.”
The Ugandans and the Kenyans deployed their strategy of ‘surging’ with them alternating the lead pace so as not to allow Farah to get into a rhythm.
However, Farah decided with 14 laps remaining to show them he was unaffected by their tactics accelerating down the finishing straight to briefly head the field.
With two laps to go Farah moved up to the shoulder of Ethiopian Abadi Hadis, passing him down the back straight, and as the bell rang, he looked up at the big screen to see how his rivals were behind him.
Despite the two clippings, Farah held his nerve and was able to repel one final challenge from the relentless Cheptegei to cross the line with fireworks going off to celebrate his feat.
South African Stephen Mokoka finished in 20th place in 28:14.67.
Meanwhile, Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt overcame a “very bad” start to successfully kick off the defence of his world 100m title, but American arch-rival Justin Gatlin was jeered by the British public.
Bolt, seeking a 12th world title in his swansong season, found himself fifth halfway into the blue riband event before putting on the afterburners to win his heat in 10.07 seconds.
“That was very bad,” Bolt said. “I stumbled coming out of blocks, I’m not fond of these blocks.
“I think they’re the worst ones I’ve ever experienced.
“I have to get this start together because I can’t keep doing this. It’s shaky. When I did my warm-up, it (the blocks) pushed back. It’s not what I am used to.”
Gatlin, the last man to beat Bolt over 100m, was met with loud booing and jeering when shown on the big screen before his heat and after he streaked through in a winning time of 10.05sec in his heat.
But South African Thando Roto, with an impressive best of 9.95 this season, was disqualified for a false start, while fancied teammate Akani Simbine snuck in as one of the fastest qualifiers for the semi-finals in a time of 10.15.
Caster Semenya cruised through to the 1 500m semi-finals by finishing second in her heat in 4:02.84.
In the men’s long jump, Luvo Manyonga (8.12m) and Ruswahl Samaai (8.14m) ensured they made the final, with Zarck Visser (7.66m) missing out.
Victor Hogan didn’t make the cut in the discus, ending 18 th with a throw of 62.26m.
AFP, Staff Writer