28th August 2011

FARAH'S Sterling Silver


28 August 2011

Sunday night’s action from the Daegu Stadium saw the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team open their World Championship medal account with a superb silver medal for Mo Farah in the men’s 10,000m final.

The silver was Farah’s (Alberto Salazar) first ever global medal and underlined the immense strides of improvement in his endurance career over the past couple of years.

With the world leading time over both 5000m and 10000m in 2011 the promise of a podium performance had always been there, but the ultra-tactical race which ensued meant the result was down to the wire and his silver medal both a thing of joy and frustration for the talented Brit.

Sensibly avoiding the strength-sapping early laps game of cat and mouse being played out by the Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes, he was still unable to hold off the fast finishing Ethiopian Ibrahim Jeilan over the final few strides, having taken to the front at the bell and having looked as though he had secured a race winning gap.

Yet Jeilan was unrelenting over the final 100m and passed Farah in the final ten metres to take the coveted gold medal in 27:18.31 to Farah’s 27:14.07 – Jeilan’s teammate Imane Merga securing third in 27:19.14.

“I knew all along in major championships that it’s going to be tougher. It’s not always the favourite or someone who runs the faster times that wins,” Farah later conceded.

“Bekele has dominated for so many years so it’s nice to see another person win.

“I’m going to speak to Alberto and decide on whether to run the 5000m, I’ve got a couple of blisters and also it’s a decision we’ll take together over the next few days.”

Farah’s medal was a superb start for the Aviva GB & NI medal tally, and made up for the sad departure of Dwain Chambers from that evening’s 100m semi final proceedings.

Chambers suffered the same agony as Christine Ohuruogu had the night before, ending his world championship campaign under the dark cloud of false start disqualification.

It later proved to be just a small moment of disappointment in the 100m process as Usain Bolt found himself also disqualified in the final just two hours later – to the shock of the world’s athletics audience.

Afterwards, Chambers said: “I don’t think it has sunk in yet. I have to keep my thoughts and frustrations at bay at the present because I have got a team out here to support. Today I was very optimistic about my chances,  I knew I was up against four or five guys who on paper are faster than me and I knew I had to run beyond my best to qualify.

“But the race has come and gone I have just got to keep my spirits high, and support the team.”

Following Chambers it was all Marlon Devonish (Dan Pfaff) could do in a semi-final containing both Usain Bolt and Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre to focus on his own race. Finishing in seventh in 10.25, it was a disappointment for Devonish but not to the scale of his teammate Chambers:

It was a tough semi-final, he admitted. “ I’m gutted I didn’t make the final but it was a better performance from me and has given me more confidence for the relay.

“This is my last World Championships ever and it’s nice to actually finish it amongst the best athletes in the world especially Usain Bolt.”

Finally it was time for Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Michael Khmel) to take his turn and despite a superb effort for third place in his semi final, the fastest loser spots went to those in the first heat and Aikines-Aryeetey was left to rue what might have been with a slightly better start:

“I’m massively disappointed. A great window of opportunity was there, I was in a good semi final to make that final and what, with 10.10 or 10.14 to make the final, I was definitely capable of running that,” he said.

“I’m just disappointed because everything we’ve put in hard work wise, even in the last few weeks to secure that start, I did it yesterday, it just didn’t materialise today. I came out and I was behind.

“My speed is there, and not many people can go past Justin Gatlin, but that’s what I did which bodes well for the relays. But I wanted to make this final as a stepping stone to prove that I can make the final next year.”

Earlier in the evening, Andrew Osagie (Craig Winrow) put in a brave effort in the men’s 800m semi finals but could not progress on to Tuesday’s final. Osagie – who looked very comfortable in qualifying from his heat on Saturday morning, was well positioned throughout the race, but despite his sensible approach did not have the speed in his legs in the run-in to make it through.

Finishing in fourth in his heat which also featured Russian middle distance legend Yuriy Borzakovskiy and USA’s Nick Symmonds, his 1:46.12 could not qualify with the previous heat having seen the first four dip inside 1:45.

“It was always going to be tough in my heat,” he acknowledged. “I’ve got no complaints about the race, I executed it well – I ran at the front of a World semi-final and if you had said that to me two months ago I never would have believed it.

“I’ve come away from it very happy and very disappointed because it’s an opportunity missed but mostly happy.”

In the women’s 400m semi finals, Nicola Sanders (Tony Lester) and Lee McConnell (Rodger Harkins) were left to fly the flag in the absence of Christine Ohuruogu and found the tough semi final line-ups just beyond them at this time. Sanders, was sixth in her race with 52.47 from lane one, whilst McConnell, running blind out in lane eight was seventh in 51.97.

Sanders said: “I felt really detached it was like I was in a different race. I’m really disappointed with the time as I wanted to run 51 seconds at the very least.

“I think I ran the race better than the heat. I’m struggling with a few problems so it’s frustrating. But it’s not an excuse I just didn’t have it in the legs today. “ 

McConnell said:  “It’s disappointing. I just didn’t have enough down the back straight. I should have finished better I lost my balance a little bit on the home straight.

”It’s a disappointing time because when I stepped off the track I knew there was more there and that’s the worst thing. “

Yet with Ohuruogu using Twitter earlier to declare that she was ready to put her determination onto the relay, the British women’s 4x400m relay effort will commence on Friday lunchtime with a highly motivated squad determined to put up a strong showing..

World Championship action featuring Aviva GB & NI team members continues on Monday morning and includes defending World Champion Jessica Ennis (Toni Minichiello) starting her heptathlon gold medal attempt, Dai Greene (Malcolm Arnold) and Perri Shakes Drayton (Chris Zah) opening their 400m hurdle campaigns, whilst the three Aviva GB & NI discus representatives (Abdul Buhari, Brett Morse and Carl Myerscough) aim to qualify for Tuesday night’s final

UKA will provide daily news reports from the 2011 World Championships on www.uka.org.uk and quotes from Aviva GB & NI athletes as well as regular updates via twitter @uka_athletics and Facebook www.facebook.com/UKAofficial

For full results visit: http://daegu2011.iaaf.org/Home.aspx