With the greatest 5000m performance any Briton has ever produced - and there has been a long line of world beaters nurtured by that tiny island - Mo Farah brilliantly won the gold medal after a magnificent and tense last lap burn up.
The speed of this year's world leader won him a fantastic battle over the final lap where he clocked a flying final 400 of 52.61 to become the first European winner of the gold medal since Ireland's Eamonn Coghlan lifted the title at the inaugural Championships in Helsinki in 1983.
Farah's time of 13:23.36 was immaterial, what was important was that his legs kept rotating particularly during a thrilling battle down the home straight to fetch him home in pole position against 2007 champion Bernard Lagat and Imane Merga who along Dejen Gebremeskel finished fractions of second behind him.
[NOTE: Merga was later disqualified for stepping inside the curb. See full decision following the report.]
Lagat, the runner-up two years ago, moved into an attacking position on the final bend and gave every ounce of energy in his body to get past his Brit rival who led into the final 100m, but to no avail and finished second in 13:23.64.
Merga who took the 10,000m bronze medal when Farah earned the silver behind his fellow Ethiopian Ibrahim Jeilan in the 10,000m final the previous weekend wilted around 10 metres from the line and had to settle for another third place in 13:23.78.
Then came his team mate Gebremeskel, the 21-year-old former World junior bronze medallist taking part in his first senior Championships, but saw himself run out of a medal by by just 0.14sec.
Isiah Koech the real baby of the field aged just 17, was the first Kenyan finisher behind 13:24.95 but that might have been Thomas Longosiwa if he hadn't had a brush of legs with Lagat with just over 600m remaining and fell to the track but picked himself up to place seventh in 13:26.73.
Separating the pair was a third Ethiopian Abera Kuma who did much of the pacemaking until the eruption of pace down the final straight by the first four who were separated by just 0.56sec and clocked 13:25.50.
Indeed it was Kuma who led the field through the first 400 in 63.95 which clearly indicated if it continued a sub-13 min was out of the question and that was how the 12 1/2 lap race eventually played out.
Koech with the pack not breaking up went through the first kilometre in 2:50.9 while it was Kuma at the next (5:35.6) with Hussain Jamaan Alhamdah from Saudi Arabia at the point through 3000 in 8:13.7 with the pre-race favourites still holding themselves back.
Kuma was back in the lead through 4000 in 10:55.6 after inducing some pace and by this time Farah, was right up amongst the leaders with Lagat alongside, the latter positioned to cover any move.
It didn't occur and with two laps remaining the cat and mouse game continued until one of the fastest final 400 burn ups produced a result which, after Lagat's win four years ago in Osaka, again saw African dominance of the gold medal broken.
David Martin for the IAAF
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Sunday 4 September 2011 Time: 21:00
Event: 5000m Men – FINAL
An incident occurred in the 5000m Men Final, where Ethiopian athlete Imane MERGA (bib n. 377), stepped inside the curb and was disqualified by the Referee.
Ethiopian athletes Dejen GEBREMESKEL (bib n. 372), moves up to third and will be awarded the bronze medal
The Ethiopian team is looking at the video of the race before deciding whether to submit a protest.