DAEGU, South Korea, (Reuters) – Mo Farah became Britain’s first 5,000 metres world champion with a sensational victory yesterday, giving his country a much-needed boost ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Farah, who had the gold medal in the 10,000 agonisingly snatched from his grasp by Ibrahim Jeilan, looked in trouble early on when he grabbed a cup of water from a table on the track and rubbed it into his scalp while running at the back of the pack.
But the Somali-born athlete moved up the field at the halfway mark and dug deep over the final 600 to see off American Bernard Lagat and Ethiopia’s Imane Merga in a straight sprint for the line.
Farah, the fastest man in the world over 5,000 and 10,000 coming into the championships in Daegu, won in a time of 13 minutes 23.36.
“I’m very proud, I can’t believe it. It hasn’t quite sunk in,” Farah said. “I came so close in the 10,000. I just had to try and dig in. I just had to try and relax and get it right. “It’s a great feeling, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Farah’s tactics had been called into question when he struck for home early in the 10,000, but yesterday he got it just right, moving on to the shoulders of the leaders with two laps to go and kicking hard with his blazing finishing speed.