Mo Farah: Destined to end 116 years of hurt

FlyMo tells Simon Turnbull he can find an extra gear to win tonight's 10km final

And now for something completely different. Perhaps nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition of Monty Python fame, with their "diverse elements of fear, surprise and ruthless efficiency," but when it comes to the men's 10,000 metres final in the Olympic Stadium tonight Mo Farah will be expecting the unexpected.

Above all else, he will be hoping for something completely different than the 10,000m final at the World Championships in Daegu a year ago. On that occasion, the pride of Britain's distance runners got caught utterly by surprise when his kick for home failed to drop an unheralded rival and he found himself being outkicked in the home straight by Ibrahim Jeilan. Farah and his coach, Alberto Salazar, had been unaware of Jeilan's finishing speed.

For the past 12 months, the experience has rankled, even though the 29-year-old Londoner recovered from the setback to win the 5,000m before he left Daegu. His tactics that time were spot on and they will need to be again tonight if Farah is to end 116 years of hurt and become the first British athlete, male or female, to win an Olympic 10,000m title.

"I'm not going to be taken by surprise," Farah pledged. "Last year I was because I had never heard of Jeilan, I was thinking about Imane Merga [another Ethiopian] and the rest of the guys. You work hard in training so that when someone is on your shoulder you can kick again and come home strong. In that race I was beaten by the better man on the day. He did everything right. I did 99 per cent right but it was that 1 per cent where you didn't think about that guy – that was the difference."

Since the hijacking in the home straight in Daegu, Farah has been striving to develop an extra gear. "I've been working on a second kick," he said. "On the last lap in Daegu my first 200m was 26sec and the second 200m was 27sec. It should be the other way around. The second 200m should be faster.

"I was thinking if I could break Merga he couldn't close the gap and I could just hold it. That's what I expected, but it didn't happen. Jeilan came along."

If it came down to the last of the 25 laps tonight, Farah could bank on a little turbo-charging from the home crowd. This time, however, he will be looking out for an early strike by one of his rivals.

"I don't think it will come down to the last lap," Farah said. "There are athletes who can't wait for Mo Farah. It's like Hicham El Guerrouj in the 5,000m in Athens. They all waited and waited and, of course, Hicham [being the world record holder at 1500m and the mile] had a better kick than everyone else and he won the race.

"In my opinion, there are a lot of guys who want to do well and win a medal and they are not going to leave it until one lap to go. I think it might be mid-race.

"I know my opposition will watch me and use the strongest tactics they can to beat me. That probably means them going out hard in the middle of the race or doing something that can throw me off my game."

The 31-strong field includes Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, who will be aiming for an unprecedented third successive Olympic 10,000m crown. Jeilan, however, will be a notable absentee. He might be the reigning world champion but he failed to qualify for the Ethiopian team.

That was one particular surprise Farah did not see coming.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?