Farah proves his form for World Championships but doping casts shadow
Farah eased to a win at the Anniversary Games then took aim at his doubters
LONDON (i newspaper) — Mo Farah sounded warning to his nearest rivals that he remains in peak form ahead of the World Championships after he won the 5,000m with an impressive display of front-running at the Anniversary Games on Sunday.
The 34-year-old has always fared well at the Olympic Stadium where he memorably claimed double gold at the 2012 Games, and it was no different on this occasion as he pulled through in the final stages to seal victory.
Roared on by the partisan crowd, Farah finished in a season-best of seven minutes 35.15secs. Adel Mechaal crossed in second while Andrew Butchard, the other Briton involved, knocked 7.44secs off his personal best to come third.
“The preparation is going well — I’m grafting and continuing to tick boxes,” said Farah. “Initially I was going to try and fit a 1500m race in between now and the world championships, but this is my last race now.
“This is home and there is no place like home. This is where my life changed, this is where I have made my name. This is where everything was normal. To become like who I am is so much down to the crowd, the people.
“If people ask about memories of London, it is not about Big Ben or anyone else, obviously meeting the queen was a special thing in my life, but secondly it is this track. If I didn’t do it on this track I wouldn’t matter, would I?”
Farah will attempt a third successive World Championship 5,000 and 10,000m double at the same stadium in August.
Winning has become the absolute norm for Farah since his breakthrough at the London Olymprics, and anything other than a conclusive triumph with his trademark final kick would have come as a huge surprise.
Farah was initially content to sit amongst the pack at the 1,000m mark, but he soon upped the pace and had struck the front with 400m remaining. From there, he was never headed, and accelerated to the line with his usual Mobot.
His victory was overshadowed, however, by fresh doping concerns. A leaked email on Friday showed athletics’ governing body IAAF in 2015 suspected Farah of taking banned drugs over unusual results in his biological passport.
In his first public reaction to the allegations, an exasperated Farah hit out at reporters. “I am sick of repeating myself year after year. You guys just make something of nothing. I will never fail a drugs test and that is who I am.
When it was suggested that such a stance might not be enough to convince some doubters, given both Lance Armstrong and Marion Jones never failed a drugs test before admitting to doping, Farah took on a new sense of urgency.
“I can only control my legs and what I do and I know there are a lot of people who support me, behind me, the whole nation. It is just a small majority [sic] who think to become a success you must be doing something.
“I said I will never fail a drugs test, that is who I am,” he said again, his voice rising with frustration. “I believe in clean sport and I just have to enjoy what I do, keep smiling. And let you guys do what you do.”
Minutes before Farah’s victory in the 3,000m, Laura Muir narrowly missed out on breaking Zola Budd’s long-standing British mile record but proved to be on track for the World Championships only weeks after a foot injury.
The 24-year-old’s hopes of competing in the 1,500 and 5,000m at the world titles were thrown into doubt in June when it emerged she had a fracture in her second metatarsal and was forced to withdraw from the British trials.
Muir seemed to have put behind her any injury worries on Sunday, though, as she started hard from the gun to essentially lead for the entire race except the last 50m, when Hellen Obiri attacked on the outside to take the win.
“Yes and no,” said Muir when asked if she was upset with her effort of four minutes 18.03secs, a personal best, just under a second off Budd’s mark. “I’m disappointed not to get the record but I’m still really happy with that time.
Hard to Push
“It’s hard because you’ve just got to push yourself as hard as you can and I knew I wanted to be at the front to dictate the pace and I maybe paid for that a bit in the last 100m. Yeah I went for it and did the best I could.