BEIJING: Mo Farah made history defending his 10,000m title at the world championships as sprint arch-rivals Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin flexed their muscles to advance easily to semifinals of the 100m.
Farah’s victory was his sixth consecutive global track distance title, an unprecedented feat that saw him better the likes of Ethiopian legends Kenenisa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie.
“It’s nice to be known as someone who has won the most medals for my country,” Farah said.
“It’s great to make history.”
The 32-year-old, who clocked 27min 01.13sec for gold ahead of Kenyans Geoffrey Kamworor (27:01.76) and Paul Tanui (27.02.83), will have a chance to make it seven global titles in the 5,000m, scheduled for next Saturday.
Farah, known for his blistering last-lap pace, made his move with 500m to go, moving slickly to the front and peeling away.
Although tracked by the fast-finishing Kamworor and Tanui, the Londoner held on for victory that made up for his Bird’s Nest outing at the 2008 Olympics, when he failed to qualify and suffered what he described as the “biggest disappointment” in his career.
The comprehensive win will also help Farah bury some headlines he made for all the wrong reasons in recent months, with his renowned American coach Alberto Salazar accused of violating several anti-doping rules.
Sprint rivals Bolt and Gatlin sailed into the semi-finals of the men’s 100m.
Boos rang round a packed Bird’s Nest when Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, was introduced to the crowd over the loudspeaker.
But the 33-year-old American roared home in the fastest qualifying time of 9.83 seconds while defending champion Bolt, greeted with whoops at the stadium in which he took the world by storm at the 2008 Olympics, cruised home in a very comfortable 9.96.