By Haileegziabher Adhanom, AIPS Young Reporter
It is him again. Mo Farah, Britain’s double-double Olympic and world champion is the one who took home the first gold medal of the London 2017 IAAF World Championship, closing his 10,000m racing chapter by defending his title for the third consecutive time.
His world-leading time of 26:49.51 was followed by Ugandan Joshua Kiprui Cheptegi 26:49.94 and Kenya’s Paul Kipengetich Tanui with 26:50.60, who both set their personal and season best times respectively. One of the favorites billed to spoil Mo’s goodbye party however, Kenyan Kipsang Kamworor managed only a sixth place finish behind compatriot Bedan Mucheri and Ethiopian Abadi Hadis.
All eyes at London’s Olympic Stadium were on the first race of this Championship that would bring the maiden gold medal. In the end it went to the home favorite competing at his very own Championships. The one who did not disappointed his numerous and boisterous fans who filled the stadium and showed their support from the start to finish of the lengthy 10,000m.
The efforts put in by the Ethiopians and Kenyans along with promising Ugandans where nowhere nears enough to truly trouble Farah, the chief of this race who have never lost a single 10,000 m in the last six years; who added to his collection of two Olympic and world gold medals with another five gold medals in the 5000 meters during that period.
The early stages of the races saw typical Mo Farah tactics as he ran from behind, took a breath, and paced himself according to his opponents, while the Ugandans, Kenyans and Ethiopians tried their best using their tactics and teamwork to cut him on the front line.
When the race reached its halfway point it was still the east Africans in the lead and Mo and a small group of athletes following. The leaders of the pack, Cheptegi and Tanui included, tried their best to leave Mo and his fairytale ending behind, but the home favorite knew he could still push through. After the race he admitted: “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.”
With only four laps to go in the race, Mo Farah did what he does best, coming out from the back and accelerating towards a mesmerizing victory. He was almost beaten down as his opponents tried to reach the first line with just two laps to go, but Mo’s winning style did not waver when it mattered most.
“Winning the 10,000 meters on home soil is something special, hard to put into words,” the newly-crowned world champion told the gathered journalists. “I knew I had to win the race on my home soil – I had no choice,” he said, adding that despite the constant thrill of victory, he was now looking forward to spending more time with his family.
What does the future hold for the 10,000m?
As Mo Farah pays a golden goodbye to the longest track event on the IAAF agend, the question remains on what the future holds for the 10,000 m race. One of the most iconic athletics disciplines is on the verge of gradual extinction from competition arenas, especially those hosting one-day meetings, like the Diamond League.
Speaking to media on the issue, IAAF president Sebastian Coe said: “ The 10,000m is and will remain the bedrock race of IAAF, but it’s true that it is a big chunk to be included in single-day meets, due to the extended time it takes to finish the 25 lap race.”
It remains to be seen if Mo Farah’s exit from the 10,000 stage proves to be detrimental to its place of priority on the IAAF agenda, or if a new wave of young African talent can face the task put in front of them.