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Mo Farah waves goodbye with imperfect perfection, ending his chapter on the track

Mo Farah runs his last victory lap at London Stadium after taking silver in the 5,000m (Photo: Getty Images)
by Nicholas Chan, AIPS Young Reporter, Hong Kong

LONDON, August 12, 2017 - A perfect ending? It might not necessarily be a gold medal. After reclaiming his third consecutive 10,000m title on the opening night of the World Championships in London, the pride of British athletics, Mo Farah, was back in the stadium aiming for one last goal, the 5000m final. Although Farah surged forward in the final lap in true form, it was Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris who ruined the party, and left Mo with a silver farewell. “I gave it all. I didn't have a bit left in at the end.”

Just as well maybe, to the crowd at London Stadium, he was already beyond perfection.

When Mo Farah walked on the track, his home track, the crowd welcomed him with a cheer almost as loud as when he won the 10,000. Showing his fist to the camera before the start, Farah seemed very confident in his race. Unlike the tactics he used in the 10,000m final, he led the group during the first few laps. The group stayed together as the noise level rose to a roar, until Australia’s Patrick Tiernan attacked first after passing the last five laps, which awarded him a 20m advantage from the group. The rest tried to close the gap as the race came to the last 800m, before two Ethiopians, Muktar Edris and Yomif Kejelcha released a powerful sprint in the last 400m. Farah tried to catch up in the last 100, but eventually crossed the finishing line after Edris which left him a silver.

"I'm disappointed,” he said afterwards. “I wanted to win. I gave it my all tonight but it is not enough."


Muktar Edris of Ethiopia consoles Mo Farah after the race (Photo: Getty Images)

However, as London gave Mo a standing ovation, imitating his signature heart-shaped Mo-Bot the big screen showed a slideshow of what the runner had described as “the most amazing journey”. He enjoyed his special moment as he finished his last victory lap in the stadium that once crowned him the Olympic champion in 2012 and a world champion a week ago. "I am ready to close this chapter of my life and to keep challenging myself." Closing his track journey, Mo earlier announced he was going to shit his focus to racing road.

High jump

Saturday might marks the end of Mo's career, but for Russia's Maria Lasitiskene, this is just a brand new start of a new chapter as she defended her world title in women's long jump after a two-year ban from the international field. Having missed Rio 2016 where she would have been the golden favorite, Lasitiskene, competing as a neutral athlete in London, returned to the high jump competition in a quiet, head-down mood. With a steady performance, she slowly made her way up to the 2m, eventually winning with a 2.03 jump. After claiming three silver medals, Lasitiskene become the first Russian to win gold in this championship and hear the IAAF anthem played in the stadium instead of her own.

Women’s 110m hurdles

The surprises continued as Sally Pearson from Australia raced through the women's 100m hurdle final lineup against four Americans all potentially billed as the facorites. She finished with a 12.59 time, continuing her London charm after her last title in the 2012 Olympics. Dawn Harper Helson (12.63) from the US and Germany's Pamela Dutkiewicz (12.72) took silver and bronze respectively.

Javelin

On the other side of the field, Germany's javelin talent Johannes Vetter performed an unexpected showdown too. The 24-year-old closed out his fascinating season as he took his first international title with a perfect 89.89m throw, defeating his teammate, the reigning Olympic Champion Thomas Rohler, who ended up fourth after two athletes from the Czech Republic, Jakub Vadlejch (89.73m) and Petr Frydrych (88.32m).

Decathlon

However, it was French decathlete Kevin Mayer who appeared to be the biggest star of the future. After USA’s Ashton Eaton, the winner of the past two Olympics and World Championships, retired from the sports early this year, 25-year-old Kevin Mayer took the spot as the new leader. Making his World Championship debut after missing Beijing because of injury, the silver medalist from Rio showed a promising breakthrough as he surprised his competitors with two personal bests in 100m (10.7) and 400m (48.26) on the first day of the race.

Leading with 4478 points from the first day, Mayer did not lose grip on his strongest event, pole vault and 110m hurdle. He leaped 5.10m which tied him second in pole vault while finished another personal best of 13.75 in 110m hurdle, the perfect race landed the French on the top of the podium over two German, Rico Freimuth and Kai Kazmirek. Crying on the podium, Mayer successfully won his country the second gold, after his teammate Pierre Bosse won surprisingly in 800m.


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