Who says repeats are boring? Mo Farah did what he’s been doing for years but, as he always seems to, added a fresh twist to a familiar story as he stormed to 10,000m gold on the opening night of the world athletics championships in London.
At the same stadium he lit up five years ago at the climax to ‘Super Saturday’, Farah elicited arguably an even more ecstatic response from the crowd than on that unforgettable evening.
In 2012 the roars which followed Farah around the gruelling 25 laps to a momentous crescendo were in hope but tonight they were in expectation. These championships have been dominated by the last major track appearances of Farah and sprint megastar Usain Bolt and the British hero topping the podium was viewed as the perfect way to kick off ten days of competition.
It came to pass but only after another heart-stopping rollercoaster ride. Farah was clipped several times, including twice in the closing stages, but, unlike in Rio last year, he somehow managed to stay upright and dug in for what was arguably the greatest victory of his glittering career as he kept his hopes of bowing out with a fifth global “double” on track.
For all that he has dominated at both this distance and the 5,000m, which he will go for next weekend, for the best part of a decade, Farah never blows away a field and cruises away. Every gold comes with a fight.
The best of East Africa have been striving unsuccessfully for an age to find ways of beating Farah and, at times tonight, looked like they may have found one.
The pace was mixed up but Farah kept calm and moved up regularly to assure his rivals he was still there.
Despite being clipped twice by eventual bronze medallist Paul Tanui of Kenya, Farah clung on and kicked hard to win in a time of 26:49. Ethiopia’s Abadi Hadis had looked a threat too but in the end it was Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei who took silver.