‘I haven’t recovered as well as I wanted’: Mo Farah finishes third in 5,000m heat after tripping up on his final lap after 10,000m gold triumph
- Mohamed Farah did all that was needed to reach the final of the 5,000m
- The Brit retained his 10,000m gold only four days ago in Rio
- He nearly fell with 200m left after being clipped on the heel by accident
The angry patch of raw skin on Mohamed Farah’s shoulder is a legacy of the fall that nearly cost him gold in the 10,000 meters.
He nearly took another tumble on Wednesday in the close bunching around the final bend of his 5,000m qualifier, although that seemed the only thing that might have stopped him reaching Saturday night’s final.
It was all part of what he described as the nerve-wracking process of re-setting himself after triumph at the longer distance in order to give himself the best chance of another Olympic double.
When asked if opponents were ganging up on him, he replied ‘As always,’ but he puts his vulnerability to falling more down to his running technique.
‘I’ve got such a long stride so I find it hard, getting tripped up or tangled up with someone, but I managed to stay on my feet,’ said Farah, who uses a balancing ball in training to help him prepare for such an eventuality.
That was his only scare as he came in third to secure an automatic place in the final, which will not feature any of his Kenyan rivals.
Aside from nursing his shoulder, the biggest challenge has been putting the events of last Saturday behind him.
‘It was quite nerve-wracking again — getting yourself back in the zone,’ he said.
‘Sometimes you take yourself away from it. That’s what I did a bit after I won, and this is a wake-up to say, “Look, this job isn’t done yet”.
‘Now I have to recover, just lock myself in my room and get ready for this final. I was a little bit tired today. I think it’s just because of the heat and having run the 10km, and also mentally.
‘In the 10km I was on the edge — nothing was going to get in my way. I need to get back in the zone.
‘My shoulder, when I sleep it hurts me a bit but it’s alright.’
Farah admitted he was taken aback by the number of runners in his heat, leading to some of the congestion: ‘There were quite a lot. When I did it in Beijing there were three heats. It’s the safer option to have three heats rather than two.’
His biggest challenge on Saturday will come from the Ethiopians, especially yesterday’s heat winner Hagos Gebrhiwet. But Farah believes he can repeat his feat of four years ago.
‘In London we just thought it was home advantage but here four years later we have improved.
‘Having the London Olympics has helped us, not just in athletics but all sport — look at the medal table. Everybody is inspiring each other. In terms of track and field we’ve still got a little bit left.’
There will be two Brits in the 5,000m final, with Scotland’s Andrew Butchart coming a comfortable fifth in the second heat after leading much of the way.