Kenya Misses Elusive Men’s 10,000m Title Again in Moscow
by Justin Lagat
The last time a Kenyan won the 10,000m race at the world Championships was in Edmondon, Canada in 2001 when Charles Kamathi defeated Haile Gebrselassie and two other Ethiopians in the first four positions to win the gold medal. The medal has since then been elusive for Kenyan athletes, and they had that in mind as they lined up today for the event in Moscow. The lineup, with seven athletes having run their PBs within 26 minutes in the event, offered a remote chance for the Kenyans to replicate Charles Kimathi’s performance. Other competitors from the other countries as well were very hungry for the medals too, especially Mo Farah who is seriously striving to establish himself as one of the greatest long distance athletes in the world. Three Ethiopians in the race as well had gotten to run world leading times in the event this year. Galen Rupp of the US had the second fastest personal best time among the athletes that turned up at the starting point.
Mo Farah was seeking to replicate the fantastic performance he executed last year at the Olympic Games, but without his home ground fans’ cheering, it remained to be seen whether he could do it again. The rest of the athletes, in their preparations for the world championships, must have been basing their race tactics on how to beat Mo Farah more than on how to win the race itself! I wonder whether a famous Italian coach who said that the only way to do that is only but to wait for him to get old was not right after all! For now, we wait to see him win again in the 5000m later in the week.
Kenya’s team of Bidan Karoki, Paul Tanui and Kenneth Kipkemoi had already made a strategy on how to bring home the gold medal in this event. The only problem, perhaps, is that they told their plan to the media and probably had already been read by many fans before the race. It was not going to be a surprise anymore that they planned to run the first 8,000m as a team then the remaining 2,000m was for each one to push to his limits. Probably, Mo Farah must have also read about this plan before the race.
The race started in a pace that was somehow slow with Mo Farah relaxing behind as is always common with him while running the long distance events. The pace picked up slowly after the first 2500m when Farah moved up to the front then relaxed back again into the middle of the field as a group of Ethiopians came to the front with Paul Tanui of Kenya pacing for the better part of the race.
It looked as though the Eastern African athletes comprising of Ugandans, Ethiopians and Kenyans wanted so much to break away from the rest of the athletes as they approached the 5000m mark, but apparently, all had prepared well for the championships and no one was to be shaken off that easily. Each one in that entire field had PB time of less than 27:40 minutes. Occasionally, Mo Farah would move up to the front, and then move back into the group again. The first 5000m was crossed in 13:49.
The last half of the race was thrilling and left everyone in the room where I watched the event sitting on the edges of their seats! The pace was getting faster and faster and still it wasn’t yet possible to guess the probable winner. At some point Galen Rupp stepped at the front, followed by his countryman Dathan Ritzenhein. There was a little pushing between Mo Farah and Galen Rupp before Farah finally stepped at the front with about 600m to go. The sprinting began soon after the bell and Farah continued to hold the lead with Ibrahim Jeilan of Ethiopia and Paul Tanui of Kenya threatening to pass him. Mo produced a great finishing kick in the last 100m that landed him the win ahead of Jeilan of Ethiopia in second position and Paul Tanui of Kenya in third place.
Kenya will now have to wait two more years to try their luck again in winning the elusive 10,000m title at the world championships.