Athletics Athletics

Sum surrenders, Mwangangi falls to Farah

Eunice Sum (left) poses with new women 800m champion Marina Arzamasova. PHOTO/IAAF/Getty Images
Eunice Sum (left) poses with new women 800m champion Marina Arzamasova. PHOTO/IAAF/Getty Images

NAIROBI, August 29- Eunice Sum surrendered her women 800m world title and Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku fell just short of dethroning Britain’s Mo Farah as the men 5000m champion as Kenya added two medals on the penultimate day of the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

Mwangangi, the World Indoor, Commonwealth and African champion took silver behind the first man in history to complete the double distance double in the 12 and a half-lap race at the biennial showpiece as Sum’s defence ended in the bronze position on Saturday.

After the trio of Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor, Paul Tanui and Bedan Karoki took the fight to Farah in the men 10000m final before eventually trailing him across the line in that order exactly seven days ago at the Bird’s Nest, the British superstar had another monumental battle in his hands as he sought to bag a third straight 5000m gold.

Having uncorked a 56 second last lap in the longer distance, Farah unleashed another jaw-dropping 52 second final 400m that even Mwangangi, who brought the hammer down with two laps to go and the rest of the deep standard field could not live up to.

The Briton, was in control of the race throughout, producing a devastating final 80 metres to romp home in 13:50.38.

“Tonight I had to dig deep as you could see it came down to the last 100m. I kind of felt a bit tired, going through the rounds and come back again.

“It is difficult as everybody as everybody has got great speed and there a lot of guys who are capable of winning. They went for it, the most important thing is to win the race and I did that,” the champion told reporters.

Ndiku, in 13: 51.75, held on for silver after making a valiant break with 800m to run. Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet took bronze in 13:51.86.

“This silver at my first world championships among seniors is very exceptional for the reason that I did not feel myself as fast as I was last year. It was a very stressful race because you know the final is always a very tactical fight.

“You have to watch all your opponents, throw long strikes and check what is happening all the time. I knew Farah is like the 100m runner in the finish, so my plan was to kill him was to push him a bit earlier.

“But maybe it was already too late. But I felt good in these hot conditions and I’m a bit surprised by the medal,” Mwangangi summed his evening’s work as he saw the silver lining in his performance.

The other Kenyans in the race, bronze winners from the 2008 Olympics and 2013 Worlds, Edwin Soi and Isaiah Kiplangat Koech were never in contention with the former coming home tenth (13:59.02) with his teammate only two places above in 13:55.98.

Without the help of his compatriots the favourite Kenyan Mwangangi, Farah and world leader, Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha who was fourth here in 13:52.43 hung at the back of the field in the early exchanges.

On another hot night with temperatures hitting 27 degrees with 51 percent humidity, the medal race started at the 3000m when Ethiopia’s 2011 World Cross champion, Imane Merga who would later fade to 13th, accelerated forward to lead them through that mark in 8:47.28 after a pedestrian start.

Then Mwangangi made the next decisive move, charging to the lead with just over two laps to go and holding off Farah and went on motoring around the track with the Briton in hot pursuit.

With 80m to go, the double Olympics champion started kicking and went past Mwangangi on the outside before finishing his last challenger off for glory.

Farah’s victory was an unprecedented seventh successive win in the 5,000 or 10,000m at a world championships or Olympics for the Somali-born 32-year-old, stretching back to 2011.

His double matched that of Usain Bolt, with whom Farah came through youth and junior ranks, the Jamaican having successfully defended the sprint double in an equally astonishing display of track dominance.

And for Farah, his victory was also the perfect riposte following doping allegations surrounding coach Alberto Salazar that had mired the build-up to the world championships.

-Sum surrenders-

Caleb Mwangangi (left) poses with winner Mo Farah and bronze winner, Hagos Gebrhiwet after the men 5000m final. PHOTO/IAAF/Getty Images
Caleb Mwangangi (left) poses with winner Mo Farah and bronze winner, Hagos Gebrhiwet after the men 5000m final. PHOTO/IAAF/Getty Images

Defending champion Sum ended up having to settle for the bronze medal on this occasion after a tense and enthralling three-way battle down to home straight as  Marina Arzamasova returned the world 800m title to Europe.

“Even after the semi final, I did not feel very well, I do not know exactly what was. It (body) was not responding well, I did not manage to recover. It was a tactical race but the last 200m was very tough and the ladies were also pretty fast.

“I just tried to catch up. What I learned from this championships is that it does not matter whether you come in with the fastest time, you come as an ordinary athlete and have to go through all those rounds.

“It is really different than Diamond League meetings. But it was a good lesson, I thank God I was in the final and this bronze will move me forward to the Olympics season,” Sum told the media after her reign came to a end.

Sum came to Beijing after a six-race unbeaten streak this season, but she was beaten in her semi-final race, showing signs of vulnerability, when Canada’s Pan American Games champion Melissa Bishop and the 2014 European champion from Belarus out-sprinted her on the homestretch.

However, in the final, the Kenyan chose to follow a similar race pattern, leading from the gun, and perhaps it proved her undoing.

The only thing she did differently was starting a little more conservatively, at 59.1sec over the first 400m versus 57.4 two days ago as she, probably, tried to conserve more energy for her finishing kick this time.

However, at this pace, her rivals had no problem staying with Sum.

Morocco’s Rababe Arafi was a few metres behind the pack for the half of the first lap, but quickly moved back up, joining the rest of the finalists in contention for the medals.

In the meantime, Sum stayed in the lead.

The Kenyan slightly picked up the pace after the bell, but Arzamasova, Bishop and France’s Renelle Lamote stayed on her shoulder, almost exactly like in her troublesome semi-final heat.

The key events in the race unfolded on the last bend, as the Belorussian powerfully moved forward and overtook the lead.

Most importantly, after making her move on the outside of Sum, Arzamasova managed to cross to the inside, quickly and safely, without risking on getting herself into a collision.

Sum had no space in front of her to quickly respond to Arzamasova’s move. The Kenyan tried to go wide, but this only opened the inside to Melissa Bishop, who had plenty of energy for the finishing spurt.

In her desperate dash to the finish line, Sum couldn’t match her rivals’ pace and finished third in 1:58.18.

The resemblance to the semi-final race, however, wasn’t complete, as tonight Arzamasova was in charge, clocking 1:58.03 for the win, while Melissa Bishop finished second in 1:58.12 after clocking the fastest second lap in the race at 58.73.

The Belorussian added the world title to her European title and the world indoor championships bronze medal from 2014, while for Bishop this silver is her first success on a global stage.

Both Arzamasova and Bishop won the first ever world championships medals in the 800m for their respective countries.

-Material from IAAF and AFP used in this report