Mo Farah, dazzling smile on show, reflected here on how the memory of his narrow failure to win the last World 10,000m title – when he was overhauled in the last few metres by the man who finished second here, Ethiopia’s Ibrahim Jeilan – had goaded him to victory as approached the line.
“It was very exciting,” said Great Britain’s double London 2012 Olympic Games champion. “I remembered two years ago almost the exact same thing happening, but this time I knew Jeilan was capable, and it was important that I had something left.
“I knew on the last lap, I could see he was there. At 200m, I could see him again. I was saying to myself ‘Not again, not again… I’ve just got to push hard, a little bit more.’ Jeilan is great athlete and a great champion. That’s what this sport is about. It wasn’t about me winning by miles, it was a close race.”
Turning to Kenya’s bronze medallist, Paul Tanui, a front runner for much of the race, he added: “This guy also worked hard, and I’m glad he got a medal. He did a lot of work for it.”
Jeilan commented with a grin: “Everyone is expecting they will have first place. I expected myself first place, but I am not lucky today. This guy did it. So, he’s lucky!”
He added that he was happy with silver, particularly as he had lost “two or three main training programmes” because of an abdominal problem during his preparations for Moscow. “I lost confidence a little,” he said.
Tanui, speaking very quietly, added that he was happy with his medal and pleased to have represented his country well.
Farah admitted he was surprised by the relatively slow pace of the race.
“The reason I went to the back at the start was because I knew there were Kenyans and Ethiopians who would probably push the pace; but it was slow, so it was a perfect race for me.
trip to gold
“As it was quite slow race so the important thing was to stay out of trouble. A couple of times I did get tripped, but that’s because I’ve got such a long stride. I was racing with my training partner Galen Rupp, and he was in great shape so the plan was for us to work together and try to cover every move.
“I didn’t do much warm-up, because it was too hot, so I wanted to start slowly and work my way into the race,” he reflected after a race conducted in temperatures oscillating around 27 degrees Celsius and 50 per cent humidity.
Farah said he had gone to the front midway through the race to try and provoke a reaction. “I wanted to get to the front and go slower and slower and slower to motivate the guys and see if they wanted to go faster.”
Asked if this victory was the final piece of a jigsaw for him, given that he won the World 5000m title in Daegu, he commented: “Jeilan, a couple of years ago did wonderfully. It was a great race, and you can’t take that away from him, but ever since then it’s been on my mind as something I’m missing.
"After London you want to get that feeling back again. As I was coming down the home straight I was thinking about Daegu, and thinking ‘Not again, not again…”
He acknowledged that he had been built up beforehand as the overwhelming favourite.
“It is hard sometimes because as an athlete you just want to be able to do what you do without having pressure from anything else. But it’s something that comes along with it, and you’ve got to respect that.”
He added that an extra factor in his Moscow victory was the thought that all the hard work had been worth it – work which had often kept him away from his twin girls born last year.
Stranger at the door
“I am away so much, they don’t recognise me,” he said. “It’s really hard to go home for three or four days and you try to hug them or play with them and they step away. They view you as a stranger.
“My seven-year-old knows what daddy does, but they are too young to. I've been away from them so much, like four months at a time,'' he said.
“Parents will understand that, but they don't recognise me. They see me as a stranger. Sometimes, when you go home for three or four days, it is hard."
Farah will bid to add a second gold in the 5000m, defending the title he won two years ago in Daegu.
However, he shied away from the invitation to align himself with previous all-time greats such as Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele.
“I don’t really think about that. I just enjoy what I do. I want to collect as many medals as I can. I want to do well for my country, for myself and my family, and people can think what they want.”
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF