Athletics: Victory helps Farah overcome Daegu misery
The double Olympic champion produced his now customary devastating final lap to defeat the Ethiopian Ibrahim Jeilan –the man who pipped him to the crown two years ago in Daegu.
The 30-year-old took the lead with two laps to go, having recovered from an apparent stumble, and had the strength in the home straight to hold off Jeilan going on to claim victory in 27 minutes 21.71 seconds to kick-start Great Britain’s medal charge on the opening night of competition.
“It was very exciting,” said Farah. “Two years ago almost exactly the same thing happened at this time.
“I knew Jeilan was capable, so it was just important I had something left.
“To be honest with you, with the last lap I could see he was there and I was thinking, ‘God, I’ve got to make this lap worth it’.
“At 200m again I could see him trying down the right side.
“I was thinking on the home straight ‘not again, not again, not again’.”
“Two years ago Jeilan did wonderfully and ran a great race.
“But ever since then something has been missing and after London you just want to get that feeling again.”
Farah responded to his 2011 disappointment by winning the 5,000m title days later and then unforgettably taking double gold at the Olympic Stadium.
He had said ahead of Moscow he now has a target on his back every time he raced, but warned his rivals he was a better athlete this year than at London 2012.
He was not wrong.
Farah has honed his ferocious kick, helped by the sort of speed which saw him break the European 1500m record in Monaco last month, and his finishing speed was once again in evidence here.
A 54.49secs last lap saw off his rivals and Farah spread his arms wide as he crossed the line, even if the cheers from the disappointing crowd inside the Luzhniki Stadium was in stark contrast to the roar he heard last summer.
* Ireland’s Mark English just missed out on a place in the men’s 800 metres semi-finals.
Having seen compatriot Paul Robinson finish sixth in his heat, the Donegal man had to settle for fourth place in one minute 47.08 seconds.
English was close to taking third place and securing an automatic semi-final spot, but was pipped to the line and missed out on a fastest loser berth by just one spot.
“I’m gutted, but there are positives to take away too,” he said. “What’s done is done here but I am going to move on.
“I am ambitious and I’m going to target the 800m at the European Championships next summer where I think I can medal if I can keep improving.”