Caleb Ndiku challenges Mo Farah, photo by PhotoRun.net
Mo Farah unleashes “the move”, photo by PhotoRun.net
It amazes me to think that any distance runner in the world believes that, without at least a fast last five laps that they can break Mo Farah. Again, the best in the world waited, and waited, and waited. Caleb Ndiku had the gumption to make the last 800 meters hurt, in 1:48 and Mo just waited for clear space and busted a move.
Here is Justin Lagat’s piece on Caleb’s lessons, amptly titled. Justin is our long time chief Kenyan correspondent, and we are fortunate to have his insights once a week from that wonderful country of middle and long distance runners (and javelin throwers and 400 meter hurdlers!).
Caleb Ndiku discovers another method that doesn’t work in beating Mo Farah.
Caleb Ndiku, the reigning 5000m Commonwealth Games champion did his best and won a silver medal for Kenya at the ongoing IAAF world championships in China. This was another valuable medal to add to Kenya’s impressive medal collections so far. However, it was the anticipated showdown between him and Mo Farah that kept the race lively and interesting to watch. Ndiku finally got the chance he had always been wishing for; to race Mo Farah. And, what other better venue for them to meet than inside the Bird’s Nest!
Sometimes watching other people playing a game, be it draughts, chess or soccer; one tends to think that the players could be making the wrong moves that ends in them being beaten, and that perhaps they stood a better chance if they were the one in the game.
Kenya’s Caleb Ndiku was confident that he had what it takes to beat Mo Farah in the final of the men’s 5000m. He had then staged a determined run in the last stages of the race, but only succeeded in demonstrating to the world another way that doesn’t work in trying to beat Farah. Apparently, his plan was to run the last two laps hard and try to burn out the finishing kick from Mo Farah before the last lap.
There was hardly any action up to the last few laps of the race as no athlete was willing to take up the role of a rabbit. It was almost the opposite of what had happened in the men’s 10,000m event where three Kenyan athletes had shared the responsibility of setting a fast pace. In this particular race, it was a crowded pack all the way up to the remaining two laps when Caleb Ndiku made the move and the field started to disintegrate into a single file.
Ndiku continued to open the gap at the bell, but Mo Farah followed him closely. With about 100m to go, Mo Farah overtook Ndiku and the latter could not garner enough strength to resist it. Hagos Gebrhiwet was also dangerously beginning to gain on him as he neared the finish line. Just after crossing the finish line, Ndiku raised his right hand in the air to accept the defeat. Farah won the race in 13:50.38. Ndiku and Gebrhiwet took silver and bronze in 13:51.75 and 13:51.86 respectively.
At least, Kenyans now know that running the last 800m hard will not be a solution to beating Mo Farah in the next major championships. Perhaps the hard laps should be four, instead of two? Many ask.
Just like many other current IAAF Diamond League leaders who have failed to shine in Beijing, Eunice Sum, who was the favorite to win the women’s 800m race could only manage a bronze medal. Sum had stayed at the front almost throughout the race until about the last 200m when Marina Arzamasova of Belarus and Melissa Bishop of Canada caught up with her. The three of them fought hard to the finish line, Marina winning the race in 1:58.03, Bishop taking second in 1:58.12 and Sum taking third in 1:58.18.