LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 3 – Kenya will be looking for a golden start at the IAAF London World Championships when two-time World Cross Country champion, Geoffrey Kamworor leads his compatriots in the final of the men’s 10,000m on the opening day of the showpiece on Friday, August 4 in United Kingdom.
However, Team Kenya that also comprises of World Cross Country silver medallist, Bedan Karoki and Rio Olympic Games 10,000m silver medallist, Paul Tanui will face an uphill task in stopping star Briton Mo Farah who will be seeking to defend the title at his home track.
In 2015 at the Beijing World Championships, Farah condemned Kwamworor to silver while Tanui settled for bronze and the duo alongside Karoki will be seeking to end Kenya’s title drought for the first time since 2001 when Charles Kimathi last won gold in Edmonton, Canada.
Since missing out on gold by a hair’s breadth in Daegu in 2011, after Ibrahim Jeilan unleashed one of the greatest ever final laps, Mo Farah has won world doubles in 2013 and 2015 and Olympic doubles in 2012 and 2016.
If Farah triumphs in the 10,000m in London, he will have strung together an unprecedented 10 consecutive global track distance titles (11 if he wins the 5000m as well). No runner has ever achieved that – not Kenenisa Bekele (four, with Olympic and World Championship doubles in 2008-09), not Haile Gebrselassie (six at 10,000m, but no double wins), not Lasse Viren (four at Olympic level in pre-World Championships days), not Emil Zatopek, not Paavo Nurmi.
So can anyone break Farah’s golden streak? One thing is certain: Farah’s opponents will need to change their tactics from recent years and not leave it until the final lap.
But then, such is Farah’s dominance, he has the ability to win the race however it is run; he has also shown he can cope with mid-race surges and even clawed his way back from a fall to take gold in the Olympic final last year.
Given that they lead the world on times – 27:08.26 and 27:09.08 from Hengelo – Ethiopian duo Abadi Hadis and Jemal Yimer might be tempted to take it out fast from the start to make it a true race.
Hadis is much improved from his 15th in Rio last year, having placed third at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships this year ahead of Yimer. The pair will be joined by 18-year-old teammate Anduamlak Belihu (27:20.57) to form a strong trio.
Kamworor won the Kenyan Trials from Karoki and Tanui – undoubtedly there will be talk of team tactics against Farah again. But any tactic would need to be fast and sustained to have any chance of breaking the Briton.
Other contenders include Australian Patrick Tiernan, Canadian Mohammed Ahmed, US champion Hassan Mead and Uganda’s 2014 world U20 champion Joshua Cheptegei.
So the million dollar question remains: can anyone find a strategy to beat Farah or will they play into his hands yet again?