World Athletics Championships: Mo Farah takes 10,000m World Championship victory to keep alive the double double

Farah was chased to the very end but showed once again why he is the best long-distance runner in the world to add to his London 2012 Gold medals

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The Independent Online

The double double remains on. Part one of repeating Mo Farah's feat from London is complete, the 10000m World title that had previously eluded him achieved with a compelling victory, fittingly achieved exactly a year to the day he won the second of his two Olympic golds.

In five days time, he will have the chance to repeat that London double. Only one man has followed an Olympic double in the 5000m and 10000m with the same at the subsequent World Championships, the great Kenenisa Bekele. On last night's evidence, few would bet against Farah.

There were signs in the home straight that Bekele's solo record may remain intact as the Londoner came under threat from the potent finishing of Bekele's countryman Ibrahim Jeilan. It was so nearly the same script as the last World Championships where Farah had been tipped to win gold in the 10000m only for Jeilan to just edge him out.

Two years on, there was that same wide-eyed panic on the Londoner's face but it proved shortlived as his improved pace held off a similarly fast-finishing Jeilan with just enough room to breathe in a 54-second last lap. It proved a script with a very different ending.

The familiar sights from London - the big outstretched arms and wide smile - were on show again as he crossed the line, the big difference the lack of numbers in the stands, the stadium barely a third full. But those in attendance were well aware of the stellar athlete on the track.

With this victory, it comfortably cemented himself as Britain's greatest ever distance runner and the planet's current benchmark. With two Olympic and now two world titles to his name, unprecedented for a British athlete, he is unquestionably in the pantheon of British athletics greats, and you could comfortably argue for his status as No.1.

"I remember two years ago almost exactly the same thing happened," said Farah running the rule over the race. "This time I knew Jeilan and what he was capable of. I was like God, you've got to make this last lap worth it but have something left at the end. At 200m, I could see him clicking through. He was right there. I was thinking 'not again, not again, not again'."

It was the perfect start for the British team. UK Athletics Neil Black had talked about this being a banker. In fact, Farah boasts Britain's two best bets for gold. The requirement was for him to win, in so doing hopefully act as a springboard for the rest of the team.

On a personal level, Farah admitted it had made the sacrifices of being away from home training and competing worth it. At last month's Sainsbury's Anniversary Games in London, he admitted one of his twin daughters had not even recognised him. As in his home town, the family were once more in the stands in Moscow.

It was a sure sign that the Olympic hangover to have plagued many of the world's top athletes was not an issue for him. This was an evening about revenge and redemption. For all of his London heroics, this was the one that had got away.

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Farah celebrates with the famous 'Mobot'

 

It was befitting that an Ethiopian should have been the one to push Farah so close once more. It was another Ethiopian, Haile Gebrselassie, who had inspired Farah to relocate to the United States to work with Alberto Salazar's Project Oregon, Gebrselassie suggesting Farah lacked the wherewithal to beat the Ethiopian or Kenyan contingent.

Ironically, two-and-a-half years after teaming up with Salazar, it was the Ethiopians looking nervously at Farah's every move, who ran his race, with a clearly preordained strategy by Salazar to aplomb.

He barely walked off the line to take his place at the back of the field, a wise choice with 35 runners and the inevitable earlier melée as his fellow competitors jostled for position. It was unfamiliar territory as he ran well within the paramaters of his ample capabilities.

He made his mark on the race for the first time on lap six going from dead last to the very front, in a bid to slow the pace. It was a yo-yoing tactic he continued to use, almost toying with Africa's finest, before slotting back into 15th lap barely a stride or two away from training partner Galen Rupp, with whom Farah runs five times a week up to 20 miles at a time, in the process.

Much like a lion stalking its prey, Farah was always inevitably going to pounce on his victims and, with seven laps left, he upped his long, languid stride as Bedan Muchiri of Kenya raised the tempo. It was with four-and-a-half laps remaining that Farah finally moved in front, taking a his second minor tumble of the race in the process. It was the last wrong foot he laid on the blue track.

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Farah celebrates with the Union Jack after 10,00m World Athletics Championship Gold

 

By the bell, where Farah had predicted he would win if in the top three, that lead group was down to five. The inevitable Farah kick then came. For much of this season, that has been it, a gap emerging with alarming rapidity and a solo sprint to the line ensuing. This was anything but as Jeilan, free from the injury problems of last season, showed he was once more the form African distance runner. His only problem was Farah had just a little more left in the tank to take the victory with Kenya's Paul Tanui in third.

With that win, out came the Union Jack with the words "Fly Mo". That flag looks likely to be unfurled again on Friday.

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