The jam-packed Olympic Stadium in London couldn’t have hoped for a better spectacle on the opening night of the IAAF Athletics World Championship last Friday. Running the 10,000m race before a roaring home crowd, Sir Mohamed ‘Mo’ Farah raced away with his 10th successive gold medal in a global track event.
With this win, the 34-year-old Briton further strengthened his claim of being the greatest long distance runner in track-and-field history. Farah clocked 26 minutes 49.51 seconds — the fastest in 2017 — to protect his six-year-long unbeaten streak at major championships. In what appeared to be one of the toughest races in his illustrious career, Farah twice survived being clipped from behind in the last lap, nearly tripping over, and ended with cuts and bruises to his left calf which needed treatment later.
However, the British legend still managed to let loose his trademark burst in the final 400m stretch to race away from Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei and Kenya’s Paul Tanui, who bagged the silver and bronze, respectively. “What a way to end my career in London. It’s special. It was one of the toughest races of my life. With one lap to go I nearly get tripped, twice, that was hard. But I just had to be mentally stronger and think I didn’t work this hard for nothing,” an elated Farah said after the race.
Before Friday’s triumph, Farah had claimed two Olympic and World Championship doubles (10,000m and 5,000m) as well as the 5,000m World title in 2011. Over the years, his principle opponents from Kenya and Ethiopia have tried without success to upset Farah’s unbeaten streak. They have worked as a team, varying their pace and tactics to catch Farah off guard. But each time the long distance king has found an answer to outwit his rivals. While the opponents will get one more chance to stop the Farah express in the 5,000m scheduled for Friday, the man himself seems to be in no mood to have his enviable sequence snapped in his final championship track event.