NAIROBI, August 22- Try as they might, World Cross and World Half marathon champion and Moscow bronze medallist, Paul Tanui, could not take the sting out of the deadly finish of British star Mo Farah who defended his men 10000m world title on a hot humid night in Beijing, China on Saturday.
In a brutal race where high profile athletes like Ethiopia’s former World Cross silver medallist, Imane Merga were forced to walk off the track, Farah held on to the first of his two titles when he crossed the line in 27:01.13.
Behind him, the hard fighting Kamworor, who took the fight to the champion until the homestretch without finding the searing lap-speed to put the Briton in trouble, was rewarded with silver in 27:01.76 in what will be remembered among the great 25-lap contests.
In a testament of the imperious team running the Kenyan trio displayed at the Bird’s Nest, Tanui repeated his position from Moscow two years ago for the third medal in 27:02.83 with World Cross silver medallist, Bedan Karoki (27:04.83) finishing fourth ahead of Olympics silver medallist and Farah’s training partner, Galen Rupp (27:08.91).
Put simply; remove the double Olympics and Worlds titleholder from the mix and it would have been a first Kenyan podium sweep of these championships as the country opened her medal account on the last event of Day 1.
The first half of the enthralling contest was covered in 13:40 with the closing 5000m done in 13:21 before Farah uncorked a blistering 55 second final lap to complete half of his mission as the humidity and heat in the Chinese capital played havoc with the field.
Since losing to Ibrahim Jeilan in the 10,000m at the 2011 worlds in Daegu, Farah, 32, rebounded to win the 5000m in South Korea, and followed up with 5000m-10,000m doubles at both the London 2012 Olympics and the 2013 world championships in Moscow.
He will have a chance to make it seven straight major titles in the 5000m, scheduled for next Saturday.
There was no shame in losing to a modern day track great and after the disappointing show of the country’s much acclaimed marathoners who were the first to action in the early hours of Saturday Kenyan time, Kamworor, Tanui and Karoki delivered on their promise.
Having swept the podium at the August 1 Kenyan Trial, the trio pledged they would run as a unit in search of the first 10,000m title since Charles Kamathi brought it home at the 2001 edition in Edmonton, Canada.
They then took turns on the front with the World Cross champion doing most of the front running as they approached the second half of the showdown.
Tanui, the World Cross silver medallist from 2011 who continued his excellent podium run with the national team led them through the opening kilometre in 2:52.22 with Japanese runner, Kenta Murayama (2:52.36) and Kipsang (2:52.22) in tow.
Karoki was in charge at half way, crossing 5000m in 13:40.83 ahead of Kamworor and Tanui with Merga (13:41.16), Turkey’s Ali Kaya (13:41.50), Rupp (13:41.69) and Farah (13:42.01) completing the seven who had a realistic chance for the medals.
With 2000m to go, Farah and Kipsang who led in 21:49.99 against 21:50.25 started trading the lead as the leading stream of five started to shift the gears to be in pole position to fight for glory in the business end of the race.
All along, Farah and Rupp who train together in Oregon looked comfortable with the high but not devastating pace the Kenyans injected in the race as all around them, runners begun to be dropped or lapped, unable to keep up.
At the bell, Farah edged to the front but Kipsang responded as the two ran almost a stride apart, with Tanui in hot pursuit as it became clear they would all medal.
As they approached the final curve, the superior track speed of the Briton prevailed when he pulled away from his remaining challenger, Kamworor, face twisted, teeth out for glory in what even he will admit was the toughest gold medal he has won in his age.
In fact, he only stared celebrating in earnest when it was all done, as even he arrived home on an empty tank as Kipsang came charging in for the second medal and after exchanging the briefest of congratulations with the Kenyan, Farah then went away to get the Union Jack for his lap of honour.
At the finish, Rupp was completely finished, unable to stand as the Kenyans bunched together to reflect on a titanic performance that on the day, just fell short of delivering the Coup de Grace.
1 516 Mohamed Farah GBR GBR 27:01.13
2 682 Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor KEN KEN 27:01.76
3 704 Paul Kipngetich Tanui KEN 27:02.83
4 697 Bedan Karoki Muchiri KEN 27:04.77 SB
5 1055 Galen Rupp USA 27:08.91 SB
6 424 Abrar Osman ERI 27:43.21
7 960 Ali Kaya TUR 27:43.69
8 973 Timothy Toroitich UGA 27:44.90
9 964 Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei UGA 27:48.89
10 462 Muktar Edris ETH 27:54.47