London 2012 Olympics: Farah victory takes toll as he fights to make 5k final
A TIRED Mo Farah feels there is a target on his back following his Olympic 10,000m triumph, but vowed to give everything in his bid for an historic long-distance double in London.
Farah was made to work hard in his heat of the 5,000m yesterday morning, eventually finishing third in 13 min 26 sec to reach Saturday’s final.
“I am definitely tired and I think it showed out there,” the 29-year-old said. “The legs didn’t feel great but that is what happens. Hopefully I will recover well and look forward to the final, forget about what I have done and rest up. It was a really rough race. It was like being in the ring with Anthony Ogogo! As soon as they saw me there was a lot of barging and pushing. I got caught so many times.
“There is definitely a target. I am the Olympic champion over 10,000m. You just have to accept it. Hopefully the final won’t be as rough because we won’t have so many guys.”
Farah is the first British man to win Olympic gold in the 10,000m, while he will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele (2008) by claiming the long-distance double.
He insisted he had not thought about withdrawing from the 5,000m despite the draining effects of last Saturday, when he won Britain’s third gold in the space of 45 minutes. “By the time I got back it was a late night and there was a lot of emotion,” he said. “It is something I had never done before and now I know how much it takes out of you. [Now] there is zero pressure. I am not putting any pressure on myself. I want to do well for the crowd because the support drives you further. Whatever I do I will give 100 per cent. I am full of confidence and having the home crowd will definitely drive me more.”
Lining up alongside Farah in Saturday’s final will be former child refugee and South Sudanese-born Lopez Lomong. The 27-year-old Lomong, one of the “Lost Boys” from war-ravaged Sudan who found a home in the United States and was the US flag-bearer at the Beijing Olympics, reached his first Olympic final having stepped up from 1,500m this season.
Faraha’s GB team-mate Nick McCormick actually ran quicker than Farah in the considerably faster second heat, but could only finish 12th in 13:25.70 to miss out on a place in the final as a faster loser.
“I’ve got something to be proud of, I’ll have no regrets in 20, 30 years when I’m sitting there,” McCormick, 30, said. “I was finishing strong, I just learned on that penultimate lap you’ve got to stay in contact.
“It’s a fantastic atmosphere, it was over too quickly and it’s not often you say that about a 5k. I am just so proud of myself to be here. I’ve got to go away now and reflect and see where it went wrong and push on from here to Moscow (for the World Championships) next year. I really think I can make the final in Moscow.”
Elsewhere, Sophie Hitchon improved her own British record in the last round of qualifying to reach the women’s hammer final.
Hitchon was set to bow out after a first-round attempt of 67.21m and a foul in the second, but the 21-year-old then produced a superb throw of 71.98m, 37cm further than her previous best and enough for 10th overall after an anxious wait for the second qualifying group to finish.
“I was just proud to be on the team and to come here at a morning session, with a full crowd and throw a PB and a British record, it was amazing,” Hitchon said.
“I did the same at Europeans [leaving it to the last throw] and I don’t know why. I like to put a lot of pressure on myself for some reason. I knew it was there, I’ve been throwing really well in training. I was ready and obviously it showed.”
Steve Lewis had an easier time in qualifying for the pole vault final, a single clearance of 5.50m proving enough to go through as one of the 14 qualifiers, meaning the 26-year-old can try to emulate his room-mate Greg Rutherford, the long jump champion, in tomorrow’s final.
“It’s been a tough week for me watching my room-mate Greg Rutherford come out and win a gold medal,” Lewis said. “I have just been sitting in my room. It was great getting up this morning, up at 6 and got the job done.
“Greg has been an inspiration to me, being around and training with him. It has been an awesome lead-up to the Olympics. That kind of energy around the village and around the apartment is amazing. There is a great vibe in Team GB right now.
“I think I can jump 5.80-5.90 and that will be in the mix for a medal. I don’t know what it will take to win but I will give it my best shot.”
There was no sign of nerves as Australia’s Olympic champion Steve Hooker also qualified for the pole vault final.
Hooker has been suffering a crisis of confidence this season likened to the “yips” experienced by golfers and only made the Games after his sponsors put on a special pole vault event. But the 30-year-old, with his hair tied back in a ponytail, showed no emotion as he sailed over his opening height of 5.50 metres.
That was enough for Hooker, who has a best of 6.06 indoors, to finish tied for ninth and secure a place in the final.
“I got in a great opener. It was good to get that done and out of the way,” Hooker told reporters.
“I did enough to put me through to the final, although it’sgoing to be a strong field.
“There’s still a bit to do but I’m here to see what happens. My training has been good, my body feels fantastic.”
Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe and world indoor champion Renaud Lavillenie of France were the top qualifiers with 5.65.
Meanwhile, two-times Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva says she’s targeting a third gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
After reflecting on her bronze medal from Monday, the 30-year-old Russian says she has “no reason to stop.”
Isinbayeva has told media yesterday that “if I had got this gold medal from London, definitely I will stop, I will quit, I will retire.”
She adds: “But the gods say, ‘OK, you have to stay a little bit more in the sport, so please continue, don’t stop’.”
Isinbayeva fell short of becoming the first woman to win three straight Olympic titles in an individual athletics event.
She said then her “decision is changing every day” about continuing.
Isinbayeva’s home city Moscow hosts the 2013 world championships.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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