x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Finally, a big hurrah for Farah

Mo Farah held off a charging Bernard Lagat to win the men's 5,000 metres at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. "I knew it would come down to a sprint finish," the Briton says.

Bernard Lagat of the United States tried but failed to chase down Mo Farah of Great Britain in the 5,000-metre race.
Bernard Lagat of the United States tried but failed to chase down Mo Farah of Great Britain in the 5,000-metre race.

DAEGU, South Korea // Mo Farah held off a late charge by Bernard Lagat of the United States to win the men's 5,000 metres at the World Championships Sunday.

"The race came down to a sprint finish, and I'm glad I took it," the Briton said. "When you come so close to gold, you want that gold.

"You do everything you can."

Farah had to settle for the silver in the 10,000m last weekend when he was overtaken by Jeilan Ibrahim of Ethiopia on the final stretch. He was not going to let that happen in the 5,000m.

"Unfortunately, I wasn't aware of Ibrahim [in] the 10,000," Farah said. "I had to work everyone out and I knew it would come down to a sprint finish, and I just made sure I had something left."

Farah won in 13mins, 23.36secs. Lagat was second, 0.28secs back. Imane Merga originally finished third but was later disqualified for stepping off the track, giving the bronze medal to his Ethiopian teammate, Dejen Gebremeskel, who finished in 13:23.92.

Farah moved into the lead with two laps to go and looked to be in control until Lagat came outside of the two Ethiopians and made a late sprint with 80 metres remaining, almost catching Farah at the finish line.

"It turned out to be a good race for me," Lagat said. "I tried to put myself into a good position for the long kick but I got kind of blocked. When I got out, it was too late to get ahead."

After the race, Farah fell to his knees and kissed the track before doing a victory lap. The next big step for Farah will be representing his country at next year's London Olympics.

"I'm looking forward to it," Farah said. "To have an Olympics on your doorstep will be amazing. You can't doubt the field. You've just got to keep doing what you are doing and hopefully stay injury free."

Kenenisa Bekele, the defending champion, withdrew from the race after dropping out of the 10,000m.

Isiah Koech, 17, of Kenya, made an impressive debut at the worlds, finishing fourth.

But it was Farah who became a long-distance star this week. "I just want to enjoy this moment for now," he said. "I'll go home and celebrate with friends and family. I'm glad I made the choice to switch from football to athletics."