Sunday 22 October 2017

Emotional Mo Farah thanks Arsenal fans and Arsene Wenger following 'toughest ever' race

Mohamed Farah of Britain celebrates
Mohamed Farah of Britain celebrates

Nick Mashiter

Mo Farah labelled his latest World Championships win as his toughest ever after defending his 10,000 metres title.

The four-time Olympic champion won a thrilling fast-paced race at the London Stadium on Friday to clinch his first victory of his double bid as he prepares to quit the track this month.

Farah triumphed in a sprint finish ahead of Joshua Cheptegei and Paul Tanui after making his move with a lap and a half to go, although stumbled twice in the final 400m after being clipped and he admitted he may need stitches in his leg.

Farah, who won 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic gold in London in 2012, finished in 26 minutes 49.51 seconds to cap the opening day at the World Championships and declared the triumph his best.

"Yeah, I definitely agree with them, they know what they're doing," he said, after being told commentators Steve Cram and Brendan Foster said it was his greatest performance.

"It was one of the toughest races of my life. The guys gave it to me, it wasn't about Mo, it was about 'how do we beat Mo?'

"You had the Kenyans, the Ethiopians, the Ugandans, everybody working as a team against me. Fair play to them, they worked it hard and they chucked everything at me. I just had to stay strong, believe in myself and think, 'I didn't work for nothing, I'm not losing in my home town. I can't'.

"At one point in the middle of the race I wasn't thinking I was going to lose, but I thought 'this is tough, this is tough'.

"I knew at 12 laps to go when they went hard from there it was going to be tough. It was about believing in my sprint finish and knowing that I have been in that position before. It helped a lot having that experience.

"To have my family on the track is very special. The environment's incredible. There's no place like London, there's no place like home. I love London, I love the people.

"I get emotional talking about it, but I owe it to the people in London, I owe it to the people in Great Britain and to have so many people supporting you, keeping you going, it makes the difference."

Farah's focus now moves to the 5,000m heats on Wednesday ahead of next Saturday's final, his last global race before he switches to the marathon, and he is confident he will recover in time.

He added: "I've got a bad leg. I've got such a long stride I got caught twice and at that point I was just trying to stand up. From that I did hurt my leg and I'm going to see a doctor, a few stitches maybe.

"I am hurt. I just had to be strong. I've got a few cuts and bruises, just recover and get ready for the 5k. I've got enough days."

Farah hung on during a relentless race which began at a blistering pace with Kenya's Geoffrey Kamworor and Tanui and Uganda's Cheptegei and Timothy Toroitich putting the pressure on at the front.

But Farah, unbeaten over 10,000m since 2011, remained on course to claim a 5,000m and 10,000m double for a third time and now has 10 global titles.

Farah will focus on the marathon after ending his track career at the Diamond League meet in Birmingham and final in Zurich later this month.

Earlier, Laura Muir eased into the semi-final of the 1500 metres after finishing fourth in her heat in four minutes 08.97 seconds.

The 24-year-old, a double European Indoor champion, kept plenty in reserve and will be joined by Laura Weightman, Sarah McDonald and Jessica Judd as they all bid to reach Monday's final.

Muir said: "It was brilliant out there on the start line. In terms of major events, being at Glasgow 2014 helped and doing a few rounds at Belgrade was good so I'm lucky I've got a few championships under my belt now. I'm really happy with where I'm at."

In the 100m, all three British sprinters reached Saturday's semi-finals.

Reece Prescod qualified in 10.03 seconds, with CJ Ujah joining him in 10.07 seconds and James Dasaolu coming home second behind Usain Bolt in the sixth heat in 10.13 seconds.

Prescod said: "My first World Championships I come out with a PB in the first round - I can't really complain. Being in front of a home crowd it's great, this is what athletics is all about - I loved it."

Meanwhile, Holly Bradshaw reached the pole vault final but Nick Percy missed out in the discus.

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