Mo Farah launched the World Athletics Championships in scintillating fashion on Friday, with another consummate 10,000 metres triumph that further embellished his claim to being the greatest distance racer in the sport’s annals.
With 55,000 of his home fans roaring their support at the London Stadium, the 34-year-old Briton sprinted away with his 10th consecutive gold medal in a global track final, a dazzling sequence that ranks among the greatest feats in sport.
Farah survived being clipped twice from behind in the final lap, nearly tripping over, before unleashing a trademark burst down the home straight to burst away from Ugandan silver medallist, Joshua Cheptegei and Kenyan bronze medal winner Paul Tanui.
The Briton clocked 26 minutes 49.51 seconds, the world’s fastest time in 2017, in what proved perhaps the hardest-earned of all his magnificent triumphs as he protected his six-year unbeaten streak in major championships.
Cheptegei clocked a lifetime best 26:49.94 and Tanui 26:50.60 but, five years to the very night when he won the 25-lap title at his home Olympics on “Super Saturday” in the same London Stadium, Farah had still not lost that invincible aura.
It was the perfect way for Farah to begin his final championship as a track runner before he turns his attentions to the roads as a marathon man.
Usain Bolt took his first, somewhat stuttering, steps towards what he hopes will be a glorious World Championship farewell on Friday when he recovered from a poor start to win his heat in the first round of the 100 metres in 10.07 seconds.
The Jamaican is seeking his fourth gold in the event – he has won the 100m at every world championships since 2009 apart from 2011 in Daegu when he was disqualified for a false start.
America’s world and Olympic champion Justin Gatlin, twice banned for doping offences, was loudly booed by many in the 55,000 crowd when his name was announced and again when he won his heat in 10.05.
American 21-year-old Christian Coleman, fastest man in the world this year with 9.92, looked smooth in winning the first heat in 10.01.
Elsewhere, there was a surprise in the long jump when U.S. athlete and Olympic gold medalist Jeff Henderson failed to qualify for the men’s long jump final.