Mo Farah hails 10,000m gold as the greatest performance of his career
Farah: ‘It was also one of the toughest races of my life’
• ‘There is no place like London, there’s no place like home’
Mo Farah produced the greatest performance of his career to capture his 10th world championship gold medal – and send a packed crowd at the London Stadium into rapture. But he had to dig deeper than he has ever done before to hold off the brilliant young Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei and retain his 10,000m title.
“Yeah, it was my greatest performance ever,” he conceded. “And one of the toughest races of my life. The guys gave it to me – it was about, ‘How do we beat Mo?’
“You had the Kenyans, you had the Ethiopians, you had the Ugandans, everybody worked as a team against me,” he added. “But fair play to them. They worked their hardest and they chucked everything at me. I just had to stay strong, believe in myself and think, ‘I didn’t work for nothing. I’m losing in my home town. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.’”
At some point, halfway through the race, Farah admitted he was clinging on.
“I wasn’t thinking I was going to lose, but I thought, ‘This is tough. This is tough.’” The race was also wild and stormy, and several times Farah was spiked by his opponents’ shoes and nearly stumbled on the last lap. “That trip caught me a little bit on my leg and I got a few cuts,” he said. “But I just had to be strong. I didn’t want to go down and I had to fight and be strong.
“I knew at 12 laps to go when they went hard from there it was going to be tough. It was about believing in my sprint finish and knowing that I have been in that position before. It helped a lot having that experience.
“To have my family on the track is very special.”
Afterwards he was sporting a bandage on his left leg but insisted he would be fit to defend his 5,000m crown next week.
“I am hurt,” he said. “I just had to be strong now and two doctors are going to look at me. I’ve got a few cuts and bruises but just recover and get ready for the 5,000m. I’ve got enough days.”
Farah also paid tribute to the capacity crowd, who urged him on to victory just like they had done on Super Saturday, exactly five years ago. “The environment’s incredible,” he said. “There’s no place like London. There’s no place like home. I love London. I love the people.
“I get emotional talking about it but I owe it to the people of London, I owe it to the people of Great Britain and to have the nation behind you, to have so many people to support you, to encourage you, to keep you going, we take it for granted but was really the difference.”
Farah, who now has several days off before the heats of the 5,000m, added: “It was different. Every championships is different. But this was much harder. The guys came up with a lot more of a plan. It felt like they were in a training camp together, how they were working together.”
“It was amazing tonight. I had to get my head round it. I got a little bit emotional at the start and had to get in the zone. It’s been amazing. I had to play with the guys’ heads and get the crowd going. But it wasn’t an easy race, though.
“I do work on everything. It’s been a long journey but I try to cover everything in training. Long. Speed. Everything. But what a way to end my career in London. This was special because the guys put it out there. Afterwards Cheptegei also paid tribute to Farah but said he would try again to beat him in the 5,000m. “For me he’s been an inspiration,” he said. “I’m going to miss racing him in the future because his days are already going.”