The 5000 meter was not the party that British fans nor Mo Farah wanted. It happened, as Ethiopian runners focused on taking Mo Farah out of the gold medal position. Mo Farah handled it with much class and his presser was very good. Here’s Justin Lagat’s View from Kenya, which he wrote for the past ten days, after each day’s events!
Muktar Edris gave Mo Farah a dose of his own medicine in the men’s 5000m final
With two laps to go in a 5000m or a 10,000m race, Mo Farah would normally move to the front and occupy the first lane where he would control the race taking advantage of the curves to prevent anyone from overtaking him, and then use a devastating kick to beat his competitors in the last 100m.
However, it seems other athletes have been watching him and planning on how to beat him. In many recent races that Mo Farah ran, a commentator would say that the runners were playing into the hands of Mo Farah whenever the race was slowed. But the Ethiopian team in the men’s 5000m final in London had a new idea.
This time round, no one was interested in a fast pace. That wasn’t what they had trained for, it seemed. Only the first lap was fast, crossed in 62 seconds, then the whole group huddled together again with no one willing to move to the front and set the pace. They were ready to “play into the hands of Mo Farah” and then jump out of them, because that was exactly what they had trained to do. For much of the race, Farah was left to run at the front. Fans are used to watching Farah running behind the rest in the early stages of his races, but this was different.
At some point in the race, Australia’s Patrick Tiernan took to the front trying to make it a reasonable pace, but no one followed. But, they kept him at a safe distance.
With about two laps to go, Farah took to his usual position at the front and increased the pace. But, towards the bell, in a lightning pace, Yomif Kejelcha suddenly overtook Mo Farah and occupied his “stronghold” position as Muktar Edris ran parallel with him. The only way for Farah to get to the front again was to move to the outside lane and overtake, but the pace was already hard. At the last bend, chances for Farah getting the gold got trimmed more by Paul Chelimo pulling up beside him and boxing him inside. With about fifty meters to go, Edris had already opened a good gap at the front and was safely in the gold position. Kejelcha allowed some space for Farah to sneak through from the inside as Chelimo went past the outside in another battle for silver that went to Farah in a slight margin. Chelimo settled for the bronze medal.
It is worth noting that Mo Farah did most of his training in Ethiopia from 2015 to early 2017, according to reports from the media. Perhaps, the Ethiopian runners there have been studying his kind of training and found out that the best way to beat him was to use his own race tactics to beat him. That was another way to beat Farah and Muktar Edris perfected it.