Athletics: Farah delivers another golden moment
Mo Farah delivered the greatest performance by a British athlete when he won the final of the men’s 5,000 metres.
The 29-year-old became the first Briton to complete the 10,000/5,000m double to the thunderous applause of 80,000 in the Olympic Stadium in London.
Farah came to the race with the momentum but the question was how much of his resources had been depleted in both that victory in the 10,000m last weekend and the heat of the 5,000m that he had run on Wednesday when he had appeared to be labouring.
About the only certainty was that this race was likely to develop into a last-lap burn-up after a 70-second opening lap, with Farah settled at the back of the field as Hayle Ibrahimov, of Azerbaijan, moved into the lead but without pushing too hard. Farah briefly went into the lead and then Lopez Lomong, the American, took over in what was becoming little more than a vigorous jog with 3,000m remaining.
Lomong was still leading with six laps to run but there was still no sign of any athlete prepared to commit as Farah, the world champion at this distance, stayed in the front echelon in order to cover a sudden breakaway.
The Ethiopian pair, Dejen Gebremeskel and Yenew Alamirew, worked together slowing applying the pressure with 60-second laps as the race entered its final 1500m. Three laps out, Farah was upsides them as one of the most intimidating five-foot somethings in world sport.
He made the move with 650m to go followed by another half a dozen all chasing that gold medal. All they had to do was get past Farah. It would have been easier scaling the walls of the Tower of London.
The diminutive tower of British long-distance running held the curb with the tenacity of a terrier, staying in front defiantly as the Moroccan Abdalaati Iguider and Thomas Longosiwa, of Kenya, tried to challenge at the top of the final bend. As they fell away Gebremeskel, who had been holding back, made a final lunge for the line. For a stride or two he seemed capable of spoiling the pre-ordained script to help bring down the curtain on the most successful Games for Great Britain in more than a century.
But this was Farah’s time, in the country he has called home since the day he arrived from Somalia at the age of eight and the moment when he took his place alongside the greats he ran the last lap in 52.9seconds to hold off Gebremeskel to win in 13minutes 41.66seconds, with Longosiwa winning bronze.
ust five men in Olympic history had previously taken the 5000m and 10000m titles at the same Games - Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia in 1952, Vladimir Kuts of the USSR in 1956, Finland's Lasse Viren in 1972 and 1976, Miruts Yifter of Ethiopia in 1980 and Kenenisa Bekele, also of Ethiopia, at Beijing four years ago.
Farah - whose wife, Tania, is due to give birth to twins in the next few weeks - said: "It's unbelievable. I was feeling tired coming into the race. When I took the lead I knew I had to hold onto it.
"Those two medals are for my two girls - they can have one each. I don't know what's going on. Everything has a time and it's all worked out. Two gold medals - who would have thought it? It's been a long journey grafting and grafting, but anything is possible.”
Well, it is in the long run.
Today at the Games
Luke Campbell wins gold medal in bantamweight final
Delighted Tom Daley takes a flashy bronze
Ed McKeever delivers another gold for GB
Jamaica win men’s 4x100 metres relay with world record
Germany spoil Dutch party to take gold
Mexico stun Brazil to strike gold at Wembley
Spain take women's Elliott crown
Brazil’s women defeat US in volleyball final
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