Men's 5000m - Daegu Preview

Men's 5000m - Daegu Preview

Provided by IAAF


Great Britain's Mo Farah is the fastest 5,000m runner in the world this year and much will depend on whether he participates with the 10,000m final taking place just 36 hours before the heats of the shorter distance event are held.

Farah would love to become the only other athlete other than Kenenisa Bekele, who pulled off the coup in Berlin two years ago, to grab both titles and having achieved the double feat at last summer's European Championships knows exactly the requirement.

The 28-year-old realises the task at global level will involve a much tougher encounter but now enjoying a purple patch in his career may, if new American coach Alberto Salazar concurs, put himself under starter's orders to get another medal in Daegu.

Without a doubt the influence of Salazar with his revolutionary coaching techniques has played an important part in the development of Farah who has sixth and seventh places to his name at the last two Championships in Osaka and Germany's capital.

There was an early indication that change was in the air when lowering the 28-year-old UK record and then World record belonging to David Moorcroft with the first ever sub-13-minute performance by a Briton of 12:57.97 last summer. It was a first step and having moved earlier this year with his family to train under the eagle eye of Salazar at the Nike Project for distance runners in Oregon, his career virtually escalated overnight.

Farah, the day before the USA's "Track City" hosted the Prefontaine Classic/Samsung Diamond League meeting in Eugene, completed a rout of African runners never witnessed before from a European athlete when lowering Mohamed Mourhit's Area 10,000m record by almost six seconds to a time of 26:47.57.

Then exactly seven weeks later he handed out the same dose of medicine to his opponents with another super fast finish and was rewarded when rewriting his British record to an impressive looking 12:53.11.

Now Farah wants to be prove himself a gold medallist at global Championship level rather than just a winner in SDL encounters where tactics rather than scheduled pace making races are poles apart.

If he does double there is the possibility he may come up against Kenenisa Bekele who although slated to compete only in the 10,000m might himself after an absence from the track last year also fancy a shot at the 5000m title. The Ethiopian's management team from past experiences know if the reigning Olympic champion feels he is okay, he will take up the challenge.

Farah if successful would become the first non-African gold medallist since Ireland's Eamonn Coghlan led a European 1-2-3 at the inaugural 1983 Championships ahead of East Germany's Werner Schildhauer and Finland's Marti Vainio. But since then the gold medal has remained in African hands until Bernard Lagat scored his 1,500/5000m double in Osaka four years ago.

The American, prevented from retaining his gold medal in Berlin when narrowly beaten by Bekele, has maintained his zest for the distance and in the Monaco race behind Farah lowered his US record to a very respectable 12:53.60. "I still think I have a 12:48 in me," he said, victory in Daegu is his top priority.

Kenyan teenager Isaiah Kiplangat Koech was third behind the pair and with another magnificent showing lowered his World youth Best performance of 12:54.59 set at the Rome SDL meet two months earlier to an exemplary 12:54.18.

The first display from the 17-year-old came when finishing runner-up to Imane Merga who set an early season lead of 12:54.21 with his win in the 1960 Olympic Stadium and who finished fourth in the classic Monaco race with a time of 12:55.47.

The Ethiopian will be joined in their team by Dejene Gebremeskel with a season's best of 12:55.89 from Rome while Tariku Bekele, although still to show his best form this year, is their other sub-13min entrant with a mark of 12:59.25.

Kenya has been denied the gold medal since Eliud Kipchoge blew away the challenges of Hicham El Guerrouj and the elder Bekele in an epic confrontation eight years ago in Paris. The man for the big occasion and a fastest this year of 12:59.01 he can never be ruled out while former Kenyan champion Thomas Longosiwa has a solid 12:56.08 under his belt from the Monaco race.  

However it is interesting to note despite these outstanding times, the Championship title has yet to be won in under 13 minutes. Kenya's Richard Limo holds the record winning with a time of 13:00.77 in Edmonton a decade ago.

David Martin for the IAAF