NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 – Kenya’s wait for men 10,000m Olympics glory will spill over to 48 years after Britain’s Mo Farah won the thrilling London 2012 final, giving the host nation their third athletics gold medal on Saturday night.
African champion and world leader, Wilson Kiprop, disappeared with Kenyan hopes when he pulled out of the race with 18 minutes gone with reports from London intimating to Capital Sport he was carrying an injury.
Beijing fourth finisher, Moses Masai and debutant Bedan Karoki who until then had partnered with the world half marathon gold winner to push the country’s interest in the face of the intense competition could not eventually cope with the disruption to team tactics forced by Kiprop’s withdraw.
Japan based Karoki; the All Africa Games silver medallist returned a credible fifth in 27:92.34 while Masai crossed the line further down in the order when he stopped the timer in 27:41.34 for 12th.
Mexico 1968 champion, Naftali Temu thus remains the only Kenyan to have won the men 25-lap title as Athletics Kenya plans of ensuring the country bagged the crown that included the controversial conducting of the event’s Trials in Eugene, Oregon on June 2 fell flat on its face.
In truth, up to 12 runners had the chance of medalling in the race with two laps to go, the most bunched 10000m final of recent times, with Karoki and Masai among the group that contained an elite cream of distance running.
In the end, it was befitting of majority of the 80,000 packed at London Olympics Stadium that their Somali-born son, Farah, would deliver the top medal with a stunning last-lap of 55 seconds to land gold in 27:30.42.
His American training partner Galen Rupp took silver in 27:30.90 in a personal victory for their coach, Alberto Salazar to end the African dominance of the event as Ethiopian Tariku Bekele took bronze (27:31.43).
Tariku’s brother and defending champion Kenenisa who was seeking an unprecedented hat-trick of titles at 10,000m, finished fourth (27:32.44) having hang around the leading pack without his usual threat.
It was Britain’s third gold of the night in front of a packed home crowd in the Olympic Stadium, after Jessica Ennis won the heptathlon and Greg Rutherford took a surprise long jump title.
A tearful Farah was greeted on the track by his daughter Rhianna and seven-month pregnant wife Tania as the crowd went crazy.
From the gun, Kenenisa raced straight to the front of the pack, Farah keen on his tail.
Kiprop and former African junior champion Masai, who placed fourth in the Beijing Games, took up the running.
With 19 laps to go, Eritrea’s former world cross-country champion Zersenay Tadese split the field open when he upped the pace to a punishing level for five laps.
The Bekele brothers and the second Eritrean in the field, Teklemariam Medhin, stuck close as Tadese notched up a succession of 1min 4sec laps.
At the halfway point, Karoki had taken up the running as Tadese momentarily flagged.
Kiprop dropped out with eight laps to go as his teammates Muchiri and Masai controlled the pace, Farah’s training partner Galen Rupp moving up on their shoulder.
A compact leading peloton hit the line with 2km to go bristling for position, Farah running alongside Rupp behind Bekele and Muchiri.
In a tactical team move, Gebregziabher Gebremariam shot to the front with four laps remaining but did not have the steam to continue for long in front of the sell-out 80,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.
Farah hit the front at the bell to roars from the crowd and immediately bolted, taking Muchiri, the Bekeles and Rupp with him.
As he entered the home stretch to deafening noise, Farah had enough to hold off Rupp and cap a remarkable night for Britain.
Kenenisa, who has slowly been coming back to form after spending two years battling a calf injury, came in a dejected figure in fourth.
Farah’s gold was Britain’s first ever in the 10,000m and the first medal of any kind over the distance since Mike McLeod’s silver in the Los Angeles Games in 1984.
Rupp’s silver was the US team’s first since Billy Mills’ victory in the 1964 Games in Tokyo.
1. Mohamed Farah (Britain) 27 minutes 30.42 seconds
2. Galen Rupp (U.S.) 27:30.90
3. Tariku Bekele (Ethiopia) 27:31.43
4. Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) 27:32.44
5. Bedan Karoki Muchiri (Kenya) 27:32.94
6. Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) 27:33.51
7. Teklemariam Medhin (Eritrea) 27:34.76
8. Gebregziabher Gebremariam (Ethiopia) 27:36.34
9. Polat Kemboi Arikan (Turkey) 27:38.81
10. Moses Ndiema Kipsiro (Uganda) 27:39.22
11. Cameron Levins (Canada) 27:40.68
12. Moses Ndiema Masai (Kenya) 27:41.34
13. Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.) 27:45.89
14. Robert Kajuga (Rwanda) 27:56.67
15. Nguse Tesfaldet (Eritrea) 27:56.78
16. Thomas Ayeko (Uganda) 27:58.96
17. Moukheld Al-Outaibi (Saudi Arabia) 28:07.25
18. Mohammed Ahmed (Canada) 28:13.91
19. Matthew Tegenkamp (U.S.) 28:18.26
20. Ben St Lawrence (Australia) 28:32.67
21. Diego Estrada (Mexico) 28:36.19
22. Yuki Sato (Japan) 28:44.06
23. Ayad Lamdassem (Spain) 28:49.85
24. Daniele Meucci (Italy) 28:57.46
25. Christopher Thompson (Britain) 29:06.14
26. Mykola Labovskyy (Ukraine) 29:32.12
. Wilson Kiprop (Kenya) DNF
. Ali Hasan Mahboob (Bahrain) DNF
. Bayron Piedra (Ecuador) DNF