London: Mo Farah launched the World Athletics Championships in scintillating fashion on Friday with another consummate 10,000 metres triumph that further embellished his claim to being the greatest distance racer in the sport’s history.
With 55,000 of his home fans roaring their support at the London Stadium, the 34-year-old Briton sprinted away with his 10th consecutive gold medal in a global track final, a dazzling sequence that ranks among the greatest feats in sport.
Farah survived being clipped twice from behind in the final lap, nearly tripping over and being forced to take a step off the track, and he ended with cuts and bruises to his “bad legs” that needed treatment.
Yet still he was able to unleash one more trademark burst down the home straight to speed away from Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei and Kenya’s Paul Tanui.
The Briton clocked 26 minutes 49.51 seconds, the world’s fastest time in 2017, in what proved perhaps the hardest-earned of all his magnificent triumphs as he protected his six-year unbeaten streak in major championships.
Silver medallist Cheptegei, just 20, clocked a lifetime best 26:49.94, chasing Farah all the way to the line, and Tanui 26:50.60.
Yet, five years to the very night when he won the 25-lap title at his home Olympics on “Super Saturday” in the same London Stadium, Farah had still not lost that invincible aura, clocking a searing 55.63 seconds for the last lap in spite of his stumbles.
It was the perfect way for him to begin his final championship as a track runner before he turns his attentions to the roads as a marathon man.
“What a way to end my career in London. It’s special,” Farah said, after hugging his children on the track.
“It was one of the toughest races of my life. With one lap to go I nearly get tripped, twice, that was hard. But I just had to be mentally stronger and think I didn’t work this hard for nothing.”
After an epic test in which the powerful Kenyan and Ugandan athletes combined with mid-race bursts to test Farah’s resolve more fiercely than ever before, the Briton had to show remarkable composure on the final lap.
Twice as he led straight after the bell while still closely pursued by four hunters, Farah was clipped. The first time, his heel was caught by Tanui and on the second bend, the same Kenyan brushed his arm, sending Farah off balance so that he took one step into the infield.
At the end of Day 1, Great Britain lead the medal tally with one gold medal.
Here is the IAAF World Athletics Championships 2017 medal tally after day 1:
|1||GREAT BRITAIN & N.I.||1||0||0||1|
With inputs from Reuters
Published Date: Aug 05, 2017 01:54 pm | Updated Date: Aug 05, 2017 01:55 pm