In a race that had all of the drama that a great middle distance race
can have, it came down to the last few meters, where Ibrahim Jeilan
overcame Mo Farah, winning 27:13.81 to 27:14.07. Image Merga was third
Here is how we saw it:
The 10,000 meter race, like all championship races, started out, well, a bit slow. The pace was 65.80, 2:20.43 and 2:57.1, with Peter Kirui of Kenya doing the first kilometer chores.
Prohibitive favorite Mo Farah was third from last in the first kilometer, Galen Rupp, his training partner, was mid-pack.
Zersenay Tadesse, of Eritrea, took over right after that and started to move, running a 2:39 second kilometer, hitting the 2,000 meters in 5:37.0. Tadesse was followed by Sileshi Sihine, Imane Merga, Martin Mathathi, Peter Kirui and Galen Rupp. As the pace quickened, Mo Farah moved into the back of the first pack.
Tadesse did not stop pushing the pace, running 2:43 for the third kilometer, hitting the 3,000m mark in 8:20.5. Paul Tanui took over after that, and lead through the 4,000 meter mark in 11:07.8, and hit the 5,000 meter mark in 13:52.5.
The world record holder and defending champion was near the mid pack much of the race. Kenenisa Bekele did not look his old self. Zersenay Tadese, an old rival of Bekele, pushed to the front once again, and hit the 6,000 meter mark in 16:36.0. It was just after Bekele passed the 6,000 meter mark that he retired from the competition.
Tadese continued to push, trying to break up the pack, hitting the 7,000 meter mark in 19:17.2. By this time, Kirui, Merga, Mathathi, Sihine and Ibrahim Jelian were nearby, with Mo Farah on the outside, and Galen Rupp just in front of Farah.
Imane Merga took the field through the 8,000 meter mark in 22:00.6. By this time, Mo Farah was up in third or fourth (he had taken the lead shortly after 8,000 meters for a few hundred meters), with Galen Rupp, Mathathi, Tadese, Kirui, and Ibrahim Jeilan. Jeilan had personal bests of 13:09 and 27:02, having won a 10,000m in Japan this year in 27:09. TFN put him tenth on their form chart, AW did not even consider the guy.
9,000 meters was hit in 24:46.4 with Martin Mathathi leading. Mo Farah was menacing, Galen Rupp was dropping off the pack, as Merga, Jeilan, Kirui, Mathathi were in the pack.
With 650 meters to go, Mo Farah began to make his move in earnest. With 450 to go, Mo Farah was in full run, and he was making his break, putting ten, then fifteen meters on Imane Merga and Ibrahim Jeilan. With 300 meters to go, it looked like Mo Farah was in control of the race, and same looked like that with 200 meters to go. Then, Ibrahim Jeilan and Imane Merga turned it on with 200 meters to go.
Mo Farah was moving well, but one wondered if he had something left with 150 meters to go. Ibrahim Jeilan went by Merga and moved closer, menacingly closer to Mo Farah, with the straightaway left.
Now, it looked like the speed was still in Jeilan legs and Mo Farah would have to do all he could to hold Jeilan off.
Mo Farah gave it all he could, but his move and the race, and a 53 second last lap was taking it out. Ibrahim Jeilan could feel that the chance was there and, with ten meters to go, he moved past Mo Farah.
Mo Farah was spent, nothing left, and Ibrahim Jeilan, who no one had considered, won the gold medal in 27:13.81, with Mo Farah taking second in 27:14.07. Imane Merga was third in 27:19.14, and Zersenay Tadese of Eritria was fourth in 27:22.57. In fifth, Martin Mathathi ran 27:23.87. In sixth, Peter Cheruiyot Kirui ran a personal best of 27:25.63. Galen Rupp was seventh in 27:26.84, his seasonal best.
In eighth, Sileshi Sihine ran 27:34.11, in ninth, it was Paul Tanui, who ran 27:54.03. Matt Tegenkamp was tenth in 28:41.62.
What a great race to behold. In the end, Ibrahim Jeilan crashed Mo Farah’s party, but nothing is guaranteed in this sport, as Mo Farah will be the first to tell you. At the end of the day, Mo Farah, silver medalist now at 10,000m in the World Champs, has moved onto the global stage, and was the second best 10,000m racer today.
For Mo Farah, London 2012 begins tonight, he will add this lesson to his repetoire, knowing that, as always in our global sport, there is a new runner that one must be prepared for, and that kick, started too early or too late, can be the difference between gold, silver, bronze, or no medal at all.
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