Mo Farah defends 10,000m world title: 5 facts about the Briton

Mo Farah crossing the finishing line in first place for the 10,000m race at the world championships in Beijing.
Mo Farah crossing the finishing line in first place for the 10,000m race at the world championships in Beijing. PHOTO: REUTERS

Mo Farah staked his claim as one of the best middle-distance runners in history after the successful defence of his 10,000m crown at the world championships in Beijing on Saturday (Aug 22).

The 32-year-old Briton's win, which he said was his "toughest ever final", extends his remarkable run to six straight global track distance victories.

Here are five things to know about Farah.

1. His coach has been dogged by drug allegations

Farah's coach Alberto Salazar sitting by the track in Beijing. PHOTO: REUTERS

News broke in June that Farah's long-time coach Alberto Salazar had allegedly doped United States distance runner Galen Rupp in 2002 with the anabolic steroid testosterone. Rupp, a training partner of Farah, was 16 then. Cuban-born Salazar, 56, has since vehemently denied the allegations.


Farah, who is based in the US to train, has yet to be tarred with the same brush and maintained that he had never taken any kind of performance-enhancing drug in his career. He also vowed to part ways with Salazar, whom he described as a "genius" in his 2013 autobiography, if the American is proven to have violated doping rules.

2. A devout Muslim

Farah kneeling down on the track in celebration after winning the 10,000m race. PHOTO: AFP

Farah was born in Somalia but moved to Britain when he was eight, and has often spoken about how religion plays a big part in his pre-race preparations.

The father of twin daughters said that he prays before his races by reading dua, which are Islamic prayers. An annual publication by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre named him in its 2013 list as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world.

Another essential ritual involves shaving his head before every race, which he believes helps him to run faster.

3. He loves taking things apart

In a 2013 interview with the Guardian, Farah said his childhood dream was to be a car mechanic. "Even today, I want to open up gadgets, find out what's inside and play around," he said.

He is also obsessed with taking photos and is known for his signature pose the "Mobot", which he breaks out after winning a race. The gesture is made by placing both hands on his head to form the letter M.

Farah doing the Mobot in celebration. PHOTO: REUTERS

4. Avid fan of English Premier League club Arsenal

The life-long Gunners supporter thanked his family and supporters after his Beijing win, but Arsenal was not far away from his thoughts.

"And also, you know, big game against Liverpool," he reportedly told BBC, referring to the team's impending league match early Tuesday morning (Singapore time).

Farah has trained with Arsenal's first-team squad in the past and even spoke about his desire to work for the London-based club as a fitness coach.

5. Nuts about burgers

The diet of a double Olympic champion and endurance athlete is naturally not the most exciting - in an interview with BBC Good Food, Farah admitted his lunch and dinner usually consists of pasta, steamed vegetables and grilled chicken.

But he confessed to a weakness for burgers - it is cited as his favourite meal - and an addiction to coffee. He is also partial to Frosties, the popular sugar-coated cereal, and regularly has it for breakfast.

Sources: AFP, Guardian, BBC