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Farah seals first distance double-double in 40 years

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Britain’s Mo Farah celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the Men’s 5000m Final © AFP / Olivier Morin

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug 21 – Britain’s Mo Farah became the first man since Finland’s Lasse Viren in 1976 to retain two Olympic distance titles when he raced to his “most satisfying” victory in the 5000m.

After retaining the 10,000m title last week, Farah produced an exemplary race to win a second 5km gold in 13min 03.30sec.

“Oh my God I can’t believe it!” said Farah.

“My legs were tired after the 10,000m and people had to bring me food in my room.

“This is the most satisfying win of the four, it is incredible.”

Farah, who trains in Oregon under ex-marathon great Alberto Salazar, said watching Ethiopian distance legend Kenenisa Bekele medalling had been an inspiration.

Britain’s Mo Farah (R), Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrehiwet (C) and USA’s Paul Chelimo compete in the Men’s 5000m Final © AFP / Olivier Morin

“To be honest I can’t believe it,” he said. “When Bekele won all those medals I said I just want one.

“If you have dreams they can come true and I always wanted to achieve these for my kids because for so much of the year you don’t see them and thus you want to show them something or rather the reason for the absences.”

Ethiopian Hagos Gebrehiwet took silver in 13:04.35 while Kenyan-born American veteran Bernard Lagat claimed bronze (13:06.78).

Another Kenyan-born American, Paul Chelimo, was initially awarded silver before being disqualified.

Dejen Gebremeksel, silver medallist behind Farah in London four years ago, and Gebrhiwet set out on a fast pace, Farah sat at the end of the strung-out field at the Olympic Stadium in perfect conditions.

Winner Britain’s Mo Farah (L) congratulates silver medallist Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet in the Men’s 5000m Final © AFP / Antonin Thuillier

Chelimo, one of three foreign-born Americans in the field along with the 41-year-old Lagat and Somali-born Hassan Mead, was happy tagging along in third as Farah moved up to sixth.

The Ethiopians alternated the lead, with Kenyan-born Bahraini Albert Rop also in the mix.

With five laps to run, Farah was well positioned in second and then took over the lead, immediately dropping the pace so the pack bunched back up.

Farah led the 15-strong field through the 4km mark in 10:39.4 as the pace again picked up for the final kilometre under pressure from Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei.

Farah went through the bell head-to-head with Gebrewihet, who punched down the back straight.

But Farah held firm and surged again from 200m. Chelimo looked like he might have had the beating of the Somali-born Briton as they entered the home stretch, but Farah found an extra step in his stride, timing 52.83sec for the final lap for a famous win.

“When I hit the front I wasn’t going to let them past me,” said Farah.

“There was pushing but that is part and parcel of the race. I hate to lose, I have been like that ever since I was a kid, I’m really driven. That’s just me.”

The victory sealed a distance double for Farah last achieved when Viren triumphed in the 1972 and 1976 Games in Munich and Montreal.

In a stellar career, Farah has already achieved the world double-double at the 2015 and 2013 championships in Beijing and Moscow.

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