Britain’s Mo Farah continued his astonishing streak in major championships by retaining his 10,000 metres world title in Beijing.
It was a sixth successive victory in the 5,000 or 10,000m at a world championships or Olympics stretching back to 2011 for Farah, who produced a superlative run in Saturday’s race to capture gold under the floodlights at the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium.
Farah has been on a tear since losing to Ibrahim Jeilan in Daegu four years ago, bouncing back from that loss to win the 5,000m and backing that up with a fairytale double at the 2012 London Olympics, a feat he repeated at the 2013 world championships in Moscow.
The Somali-born superstar, whose preparations for Beijing were complicated by doping allegagations engulfing his American coach Alberto Salazar, has a chance now to make it seven if he wins the 5,000m.
Salazar is accused of violating several anti-doping rules — including supplying athletes with performance-enhancing steroids — although Farah has been cleared of any wrongdoing after an investigation by British track and field officials.
The 32-year-old has pleaded to be allowed to concentrate on running since the controversy over Salazar’s alleged involvement in doping broke and Farah’s fist-pumping celebrations as he crossed the line in Beijing underlined how much victory meant to him.
“Winning meant so much to me,” said Farah after surpassing distance-running greats such as Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie. “It hasn’t been an easy year as all that stuff kicked off, but I let my running do the talking.”
Farah captured the hearts of a nation at the London Olympics, with his signature “Mobot” celebration copied by thousands of British fans, but he suffered a hefty fall from grace after a public row with team-mate Andy Vernon earlier this year.
The pair clashed on social media before Farah snubbed a handshake following a race in Lausanne, Vernon accusing the two-times European athlete of the year of swearing at him.
Farah demonstrated steely resolve following a testing few months, however, toughing it out against Kenyans Geoffrey Kamworor and Paul Tanui and leaving them for dead with his trademark kick for home just before the bell.
His winning time of 27 minutes, 01.13 seconds will bode well for his quest for another distance double in Beijing, the scene of his biggest career disappointment when he failed to qualify at the 2008 Olympics. Few would bet against him.