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Ethiopian team tact floors Farah, Kenya miss out

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Muktar Edris crosses the finish line ahead of MO Farah to win the gold medal in the 5,000m at the London IAAF World Championships. PHOTO/IAAF

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12- A well executed team tact by the Ethiopian athletes in the men’s 5000m floored home boy and crowd favorite Mo Farah on his final goodbye racing on track for Great Britain as 2012 World U20 Champion Muktar Edris won gold.

Kenya entirely missed out on a medal with the only representative Cyrus Rutto crossing the finish line 13th after burning out in the final two laps of an electric race, clocking 13:84.64.

A huge dip of strength by Edris saw him cross the line in 13:32.79 with a striving Farah only managing silver in a time of 13:33.22. Kenyan-born American Paul Chelimo, Rio 2016 silver medalist came through for the bronze just dipping past Kejelcha who was fourth.

Farah sunk into the turf, drained, disappointed and in disbelief. It was not the script he had eagerly waited for on his final track race, more so infront of his home fans.

More so, the sold out crowd at the Olympic Stadium in London was dumbfounded, silenced and left in ohs! Their home boy was floored right on their track.

“I gave it my all, 110 percent,” said Farah.

“I don’t think there was any more I could have done. They (the Ethiopians) run as a team.

“Never feel like you can’t beat the Kenyans and Ethiopians — anything is possible.”

At the bell, Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha, the reigning World Indoor Champion popped up to the front, signaling his teammates Edris and Selemon Barega to follow suit as they sought to block Farah out of the inside lane and shield the lead.

Muktar Edris celebrates in Mo Farah’s style as the Briton watches in disappointment.

“Mo has many victories but now I have one,” said the 23-year-old.

“I am the new champion for Ethiopia. That’s why I did the Mobot. I am the next champion.

“I have won the gold in front of his home crowd. I didn’t have much support but we did it. I did the Mobot out of respect as well for him.”

It was the exact kind of tact that the Kenyans and Ugandans tried to use against the reigning double Olympic champion in the 10,000m, but only this time, the Ethiopians did it with a little more finesse and determination.

Knowing that the plot was going to be used again, Farah also changed tact and chose to run at the front for the entirety of the race. In the longer distance, he had either run at the back or in the middle of the pack.

The group remained intact for most part of the race with Rutto, Kenya’s only hope for a medal after his compatriots performed dismally in the heats also sticking to the front.

With five laps to go, Australia’s Patrick Tiernan opened up the field bursting to the front and the chasing pack equally responded though not with 100 percent vigor.

With 800m left on the race, Rutto began to drift away as the three Ethiopians surged up the pace, Farah following keenly waiting for the opportune time to pounce and employ his devastating final kick.

But it seemed that his usual script had already leaked to the Ethiopians who formed a wall infront of him at the ball and pumped up the pace, leaving the Briton to dig deeper and earlier than he is used to.

Muktar Edris pumps up the pace against Mo Farah in the final of the 5000m race at the IAAF London World Championship

At the home straight, Kejelcha pumped up with Edris and Barega following suit as Farah and Chelimo followed. In the final 100m, Farah showed his kick, pumping up the pace and moving all the way to second from fourth while Chelimo also surged.

It looked as though Kejelcha would be going for the gold, but his compatriot Edris had sapped in more energy for the final stretch, striding powerfully into the front while Farah chased in.

Edris maintained his pace and eventually crossed the line ahead with Farah managing to power to second and Chelimo squeezed out a second Ethiopian on the podium, dipping past Kejelcha for the bronze.

This is the first time Farah is losing a track race at a major championship in the 5,000m since the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he was sixth in the heats. The Briton was also looking to make history by winning a double for the third consecutive time and a 5,000m title for the fourth time in a row.

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