Farah into final to keep dream farewell alive
British track legend Mo Farah sauntered into the 5,000 metres world final on Wednesday looking good to sign off his brilliant track championship career with a fifth successive global title double.
The 34-year-old – who has two Olympic and two world championship doubles to his credit – showed no sign of a hangover from the 10,000m victory last Friday, which saw him emerge with a badly cut calf, as he finished second in his semi-final at a rain-sodden London Stadium.
Farah, who is unbeaten in 5,000m global finals since winning the 2011 world crown, admitted to being tired but said he took his lead off a Kenyan catchphrase.
“Anything is possible – train hard and win easy, that is what the Kenyans say,” said Farah.
“I’ve been given a chance in life. For all the young kids out there, you should believe that you can do it as well.”
However, he may need to be on his guard as at the opposite end of the age spectrum 17-year-old Ethiopian Selemon Barega caught the eye in winning his semi-final.
Farah was content to hang out the back in the early stages but moved onto the fastest man in the world this year Muktar Edris’s shoulder with 10 laps remaining.
Up front was Spain’s Morocco-born Illias Fifa ahead of 16-year-old Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo who then took on the pace with seven laps to the tape – Farah moving up to second behind the youngster.
A welcome sudden injection of pace came from Tanzania’s Emmanuel Gisamoda with Farah looking relaxed in fourth alongside Hayle Ibrahimov of Azerbaijan.
However, they bunched up again and a fair few elbows came to the fore as runners tried to hold their position.
As they took the bell there were a dozen runners in contention for the five automatic places but Farah was never in danger of missing out and content to finish second.
However, the biggest cheer of all came for Mauritania’s Mohamed Sambe who valiantly battled on despite being tailed off from early on and being lapped twice.
The 34-year-old had his own ‘lap of honour’ on the final circuit of the track being cheered to the rafters and raised his arms as he crossed the line in celebrating having completed the course in his own time.
The second semi-final saw Ethiopian tyro Barega take on the pace setting duties after a very pedestrian opening four laps swapping the lead with Ugandan Stephen Kissa.
There were casualties though as the pace slowed and they bunched up with Kenyan-born American Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo going down after being clipped by Kenya’s Cyrus Rutto, who also came to grief.
Chelimo recovered quicker regaining his place in the main pack whilst Rutto took his time but with two laps to run he too was back in contention.
However, Chelimo ran out of puff when the final sprint took place with Barega coming home first and his former compatriot now running for Bahrain Birhanu Balew was second with Rutto doing brilliantly to take third.
There was a happy ending for Chelimo though as he made the final as one of the five fastest losers.