Tanui rewarded with silver as Farah holds on to 10000m title
Ultimately it proved that everyone in the field apart from Mo Farah was pre-destined to fight for silver in the men 10000m final of the Rio 2016 Olympics on Sunday morning and Kenya’s Paul Kipng’etich Tanui caught the bouquet for his country’s second medal at Rio 2016 in a dramatic final.
Surviving a fall when they were approaching halfway, Farah completed the first part of his bid for the Olympics double-double when he used his superior finishing everyone knows about to land the gold in 27:05.17 with Tanui, who took bronze at last year’s World Championships in Beijing upgrading to silver in 27:05.64.
Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola (27:06.26) nicked the bronze medal from his countryman Yigrem Demelash (27:06.27) by one hundredth of a second as London 2012 silver winner and Farah’s training partner, American Galen Rupp (27:08.92) dropped to fifth in an absorbing contest.
“Well run #Ken. Congratulations Tanui for the Silver medal in the 10,000m race #OlympicGames #Athletics great race #ShangiliaKenya,” President Uhuru Kenyatta wrote on Twitter moments after the epic final that had it all, despite the all too familiar outcome.
Unlike last year where the Kenyans took the battle to Farah to the very end, Tanui was left to take on the Somali born British living legend over the closing stages of the race after compatriots Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor and Bedan Karoki fell off the pace at the 8km mark.
At the bell, Farah was ahead by a stride with Tanui and Tola keeping close attendance as he picked up the pace, the Kenyan moved to his shoulder and with 300m to go, surged in front.
The London 2012, Moscow 2013 and Beijing 2015, double distance champion, such is his staggering record, however, was not to be denied as he went to the outside of his latest challenger to his throne and hit the homestretch with all what he had.
After crossing the line, he collapsed to the blue tartan of the Olympics Stadium in Rio, having overcome another stern examination of his undoubted at the very last. Close but not close enough as his reign in the 25-lap race extended to next championship that will at home when Britain hosts the 2017 Worlds.
It was Ethiopia’s Tola who threw down the first challenge when he took the lead and led the race at halfway in 13:53.11 with the Kenyans in close attendance.
At the 6000m split Tanui was in the lead and took the field through in 16:37.20 and when fellow Japan based runner and World Half and World Cross silver medallist, Karoki inherited the front running duties.
The fourth finisher at Beijing Worlds then dropped the initial quickest lap of the race in 63:63 as the Kenyans decided to take it on to the Briton.
A kilometre later, Kamworor and Farah were shadow boxing at the front as Karoki who has had a nagging ankle injury struggled to keep the pace.
Ethiopia’s Demelash then took charge, injecting a turn of speed that saw the Beijing silver winner to start drifting back from the lead and he was soon out of contention for the medals in the second surprise development of the race.
It appeared he had not recovered from the stomach ailment that saw him drop out of the Kenyan Trials on July 1 where he required drip treatment and soon, Karoki was literary limping as he made a heroic effort to finish the race.
Eventually, Karoki came home seventh (27:22.93) and Kamworor retreated to 11th (27:31.94).
The race started at a trot, rather than a charge for the medals and was largely uneventful until 11 minutes in when huge gasps filled the stadium when Farah tripped and stumbled on the blue tartan, fortunately, escaping being ran over by the bunch around him.
He picked himself up and slowly made his way back to join the East African front runners when they continued their walkabout pace with Rupp, slowing down to ensure his illustrious training partner was fine.
Once he rejoined the contest, there was no stopping his bid to join the greats of the sport if indeed he is not one.
1 2452 Mohamed Farah GBR 27:05.17
2 2698 Paul Kipngetich Tanui KEN 27:05.64 SB
3 2400 Tamirat Tola ETH 27:06.26
4 2392 Yigrem Demelash ETH 27:06.27
5 3097 Galen Rupp USA 27:08.92 SB
6 3015 Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei UGA 27:10.06 PB
7 2691 Bedan Karoki Muchiri KEN 27:22.93
8 2344 Zersenay Tadese ERI 27:23.86
9 2337 Nguse Amlosom ERI 27:30.79 SB
10 2166 Abraham Naibei Cheroben BRN 27:31.86 PB