Farah stum­bles in 5,000-me­ter fi­nal in Bei­jing

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY LUKE PHILLIPS

Mo Farah’s bid to de­fend his dou­ble world dis­tance ti­tles al­most came un­stuck on Wed­nes­day as he was tripped com­ing into the fi­nal 200 me­ters of his 5,000-me­ter heat.

The United King­dom’s Farah, who won 10,000-me­ter gold on Satur­day, was in con­trol of the race through­out but was clipped com­ing into the fi­nal bend, leav­ing him with a cut toe and caus­ing him to stum­ble badly be­fore cor­rect­ing him­self.

To gasps from the Bird’s Nest crowd in Bei­jing, Farah re­launched him­self to fin­ish sec­ond be­hind Ethiopian win­ner Yomif Ke­jelcha, the world’s fastest per­former in 2015, who timed 13 min­utes 19.38 sec­onds in the hot morn­ing sun.

Another Ethiopian, Ha­gos Ge­brhi­wet, won the first heat, clock­ing 13 min­utes 45 sec­onds to set up a mouth-wa­ter­ing clash in the fi­nal sched­uled for 1130 GMT on Satur­day.

“It felt all right. I nearly went down — again!” laughed Farah in ref­er­ence to stum­bling also in the 10,000-me­ter fi­nal.

“I hope it doesn’t come a third time, that would be bad luck.

“Some­body just caught my legs. It’s the way I run, I’ve got long strides so I don’t blame any­body. It just hap­pens. That’s why some­times I just have to be at the front or the back or stay on the out­side.”

The So­mali-born 32-year-old said that vic­to­ries in the hep­tathlon and men’s long jump by Great Bri­tain team­mates Jes­sica En­nis-Hill and Greg Rutherford had not only eased the pres­sure on him but also high­lighted an “amaz­ing team spirit.”

‘Any­thing can hap­pen’

“It brings back ‘su­per Satur­day’ with my­self, Jess, Greg,” he said, re­fer­ring to the first night of ac­tion at the 2012 Lon­don Olympics when all three won gold.

Vic­tory for Farah on Satur­day would sig­nify an un­prece­dented sev­enth suc­ces­sive win in the 5,000 or 10,000 me­ter at a world cham­pi­onships or Olympics stretch­ing back to 2011.

Farah warned, how­ever, that he would take noth­ing for granted given the strong field.

“You might be the fa­vorite but any­thing can hap­pen,” he said.

“I think there are three or four guys who are ca­pa­ble. Three Ethiopi­ans and two Kenyans in the fi­nal — I don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen.”

The third Ethiopian will be the ex­pe­ri­enced Imane Merga. Also pro­gress­ing to the 15-man fi­nal will be Farah’s train­ing part­ner Galen Rupp of the United States.

The Kenyans com­prise Caleb Ndiku, Isiah Koech and Ed­win Soi, while there are two other Kenyan-born run­ners in the field rep­re­sent­ing new coun­tries of al­le­giance — Bahrain’s Al­bert Rop and Tur­key’s Ali Kaya.

There will be another Bri­ton in Tom Far­rell, while Ryan Hill and Ben True make up the trio of Amer­i­cans to com­plete the fi­nal lineup along­side Ger­many’s Richard Ringer and Canada’s Mo­hammed Ahmed.

Bolt, Gatlin Fea­ture

The evening ses­sion in Bei­jing Wed­nes­day sees ri­vals Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin race the semi­fi­nals of the 200-me­ter, with the fi­nal sched­uled for Thurs­day.

Bolt drew first blood in the bat­tle with Gatlin, who has served two dop­ing bans, when the tow­er­ing Ja­maican edged the Amer­i­can to the 100-me­ter ti­tle on Sun­day.

Ki­rani James of Gre­nada will later bid to add world gold to his Olympic 400-me­ter ti­tle but in what is shap­ing as a thriller, he will be pushed hard by con­tenders in­clud­ing de­fend­ing cham­pion LaShawn Mer­ritt.

Other fi­nals on Wed­nes­day in­clude the women’s pole vault, 400-me­ter hur­dles and 3,000-me­ter steeplechase, as well as the men’s javelin.

There will also be women’s 200-me­ter heats, al­beit miss­ing 100-me­ter win­ner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Amer­ica’s Allyson Felix, who both opted out, blow­ing the field wide open.

Much-dec­o­rated Ja­maican Veron­ica Camp­bell-Brown could push for a golden swan­song, although coun­try­woman Elaine Thompson, Nige­ria’s Com­mon­wealth Games cham­pion Bless­ing Ok­ag­bare and Dutch 100-me­ter sil­ver medal­ist Dafne Schip­pers are ex­pected to shine.

AP

Mo Farah, from the United King­dom, stum­bles and al­most falls in a men’s 5,000-me­ter round one heat at the World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships at the Bird’s Nest sta­dium in Bei­jing, Wed­nes­day, Aug. 26.

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