Britain’s Mo Farah, who won the 10,000m on the first night of the IAAF World Championships in London, is retaining his 5000m world title by taking second in the first of three 5000m heats behind Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha, 13:30.18 to 13:30.07. It was a messy heat with a lot of pace changes, bumping and shoving.
“I’m a bit tired but you have just got to recover,” said Farah whose team provided him with recovery drinks which were kept in a clear, locked case to thwart tampering. “It is always tough after the 10,000m heats, so I’m just happy to qualify. It is difficult to pick yourself back up and go out there to race so soon. I had to switch off and go again. Rounds are the hardest part.”
Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris finished third and Canada’s Justyn Knight—who avoided trouble by running near the back before sprinting strongly in the final 100 meters—finished fourth. The Syracuse University star was pleased with his run.
“It was fantastic,” Knight told reporters. “I expected that out of championship racing; it’s not going to be pretty. It’s not like it’s a time trial, so nobody’s going to be along the rails for the whole run. But, I tried to stay out of trouble.”
Trouble found Paul Chelimo of the United States, the 2016 Olympic 5000m silver medalist. Nine minutes and three seconds into the second 5000m heat, Chelimo was tripped and both he and Kenya’s Kiprono Menjo went down. Chelimo picked himself up, slowly caught up to the field and ended up finishing eighth with a time qualifier of 13:24.88 (Menjo did not advance).
“It was really wet, so I couldn’t even control myself to stay up,” Chelimo lamented. “So, when I fell down I was like, Paul, I don’t think it’s over, you know? You’ve just got to stand up and get back into it.”
Chelimo’s USA teammate, Ryan Hill, also advanced by finishing fifth in the same heat with a smooth final 100 meters where he kicked down several rivals.
“It was like a December day in Portland,” Hill quipped about the cold and rainy conditions. He continued: “It got really physical and I had to hurdle someone. I didn’t even know Chelimo went down until he passed me. I don’t remember passing him.”
The top-3 finishers in the second 5000m heat were Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega (13:21.50), Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew (13:21.91), and Kenya’s Cyrus Rutto (13:22.45). Australia’s Pat Tiernan, who finished a disappointing 22nd in the 10,000m last Friday, got fifth.
“At the end of the day, like, you get out there and you realize you want to come back again and compete at a top level,” Tiernan told the media.
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