Farah's double distances him from his rivals

Mo Farah relishing the sweet taste of success.
Mo Farah relishing the sweet taste of success.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • Mo Farah cemented his status as one of the best distance runners of all time by winning the 5,000m at the world championships yesterday.

The Briton produced a devastating final 80m to finish in 13min 50.38sec and complete an unprecedented third successive distance double at major global championships.

Farah, who won the 10,000m gold on the opening day of competition in Beijing, was in control of the race throughout. Kenyan Caleb Ndiku won silver in 13: 51.75, while Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet took bronze (13:51.86).

"It is great to make history," Somali-born Farah told the BBC. "I didn't feel great, my (hamstring) was playing up a bit but the medical team helped me through it and (to) come out here and make a double means so much to me."

His compatriot Tom Farrell set the slow opening pace for the 15-man field.

Farah parked himself at the back of the pack as American pair Ben True and Galen Rupp, Farah's training partner, followed Farrell.

With seven laps to run, Farah started moving up the field, having to push Imane Merga in the back and onwards as the Ethiopian also harried his way past and into the lead. Farah found himself setting the pace with four laps to go, lengthening his stride as Ethiopian team tactics kicked in and they jostled for position.

The real kick came with 800m to run, Ndiku stretching out the field for the first time with an impressive turn of pace. As the bell for the final lap rang, the Kenyan remained at the front, chased by Farah and Gebrhiwet at full tilt.

Coming into the final straight, Farah rounded Ndiku for an ultimately comfortable victory.

His win was an unprecedented seventh successive victory in the 5,000m or 10,000m at a world championships or Olympics, stretching back to 2011.

The 32-year-old's haul pushes him ahead of retired Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie, who has four world and two Olympic track titles. Only Kenenisa Bekele, also of Ethiopia, has more from the two most prestigious events, with five world and three Olympic crowns.

A double in Rio de Janeiro next year and Farah will be the best since Lasse Viren, the Finn who won a quartet of Olympic distance gold medals.

Farah's achievement in the Chinese capital was all the more impressive because his preparations were disrupted by allegations of doping levelled at his coach Alberto Salazar. There has been no suggestion that Farah has done anything wrong while Salazar has denied the allegations.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 30, 2015, with the headline 'Farah's double distances him from his rivals'. Print Edition | Subscribe