London, United Kingdom | AFP | British athletics legend Mo Farah won his 10th successive global title on Friday winning the 10,000 metres world crown 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 5000m 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.”
He added: “It was amazing tonight, I had to get my head around it. I got a bit emotional at the start and then I just had to get in the zone. It has all been amazing.
“I knew at 12 laps to go when they went hard from there I knew it was going to be tough. It was about believing in my sprint finish and knowing that I have been in that position before. It helped a lot having that experience.”
Uganda and Kenya strategy fails to break MO
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.
Two-time world cross-country champion Geoffrey Kamworor took up the pace with over 21 laps to run — Farah was seventh from the back but looking comfortable.
Kamworor exchanged the lead with Cheptegei, the 20-year-old performing the same role as he had in the Olympic final in Rio.
Farah moved along in around 12th as Kamworor and compatriot Tanui injected more pace up front and the trio of Ethiopians loomed large on the scene.
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.
The Kenyans resumed their control up front soon afterwards and upped the pace recording a lap of 61 seconds with the Ugandans tucked in behind them and Farah 11th.
However, each time they thought they had him on the ropes Farah also sped up although Kamworor deliberately slowed it down recording a lap of 67 seconds.
With nine laps to go the pace setting was taken up by young Eritrean Aron Kifle but despite the constant changing of pace Farah despite being elbowed looked comfortable.
Cheptegei leads with 2000m to tape
With 2000m to the tape Cheptegei led the field but was then passed by the fastest man in the world this year Ethiopian Abadi Hadis, who looked in ominously good shape.
With two laps to go Farah moved up to the shoulder of 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.
Prior to the race Farah had come onto the track waving his arms in the air urging the spectators to up the volume.
Introduced as they lined up for the start to the crowd they responded with a deafening roar — but nothing compared to what greeted their champion as he crossed the line in glory half an hour later.
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Cheptegei says race was tough
“The race was a really tough race, you know. I feel like my preparations were enough; my last lap was really poor but I feel like I’m coming good, I just need to do some more training,” Cheptegei said.
“The plan was to run a hard race. The opening lap was not a problem – I thought I was going at 65 (seconds), but I saw it coming at 61 and it was fine. I’m not upset about the loss because I am still young.”
About his disastrouse IAAF World Cross Country Championships earlier this year, Cheptegei said: “Now I feel happy because I have a medal in the senior race. I feel Kampala was just not my day, I was really in shape but it wasn’t my day.”
Men’s 10,000m: 1. Mo Farah (GBR) 26min 49.51sec, 2. Joshua Cheptegei (UGA) 26:49.94, 3. Paul Tanui (KEN) 26:50.60, 4. Bedan Muchiri (KEN) 26:52.12, 5. Jemal Yimer (ETH) 26:56.11, 6. Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN) 26:57.77, 7. Abadi Hadis (ETH) 26:59.19, 8. Mohammed Ahmed (CAN) 27:02.35, 9. Shadrack Kipchirchir (KEN) 27:07.55, 10. Anamlak Belihu (ETH) 27:08.94
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— The Independent (@UGIndependent) August 4, 2017