Mo Farah comes in from the dark with a fresh plot for double world gold

Mo Farah

As gold medal celebrations go, it was more than a little unusual.

But then Mo Farah is not your usual athlete. After his electrifying 10,000m victory at the world championships on Saturday Farah had an impromptu rub-down in the fields outside the Luzhniki stadium followed by room-service steak and chips and very little sleep.

But it was testament to Farah's supreme powers of recovery that he bubbled with energy and glee on Sunday – especially when speaking about having physio with UK Athletics' performance director, Neil Black, in the pitch dark after he was denied access to the warm-up room of the stadium.

"It was unbelievable," Farah said. "I finished drug-testing and everybody was leaving and I had to see Neil because I always see him. We tried to go through and they weren't having it. They wouldn't let us in. [My eldest daughter] Rihanna was like: 'There's Daddy's medal here!' But they weren't having it and so we came outside and just did it under a tree.

"Afterwards I couldn't sleep much," he added. "It was all kinds of stuff – excitement, thinking about the race and what you did. Your mind's always wandering."

But while Farah was happy to revel in the addition of a world 10,000m title to his collection, he was more serious when admitting that the victory had taken more out of him than he expected.

"Honestly the race was definitely harder than I thought it might have been because it was up and down," he said. "In terms of the pace it was fast. The time probably doesn't mean a lot but, in terms of the heat and the times we were doing, it was definitely hard."

Farah will rest as much as possible for Tuesday's 5,000m heats, where he will try to conserve as much energy as possible before Friday's final when he expects his rivals to go out hard and hurt his legs. "I think it's going to be tough," he said . "They will probably do something early with the pace and just go as hard as they can and maybe sacrifice one guy."

When it was put to Farah that his opponents have promised to employ such tactics before, only to serve up a sprint finish on a platter, Farah said that the 10,000m silver medallist, Ibrahim Jeilan, told him that the Ethiopians had tried – and failed – to carry out a pre-race plan on Saturday.

"One of them was meant to go hard and another one was meant to follow through and go hard again," he said. "They were all going to do a couple of laps each and try to take it out. But I think it was just too hot for them and they didn't feel great.

"I think they are a little bit intimidated by me now because they know I am capable of running fast at the end," Farah added. "In the middle I am strong as well. They think, 'We've got to do something different,' and sometimes at championships that is not easy. I think they had a plan. It just for some reason didn't work out."

Farah has set his sights on a double-double of gold at the 5,000m and 10,000m in the Olympics and following world championships, something that has been achieved only by the Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele in 2009.

But at London 2012 he had a week to recover between the 10,000m and 5,000m final; in Moscow he has only six days.

He also suspects that the mild sleight of hand he used to good effect in London before the 5,000m will not work either. "Before the 5,000m I said I was a lot more tired than I was, which worked out well," he joked. "I'll have to say I've got a sore leg this time. I'll come up with something."

There is only one problem. Everyone takes it for granted that Farah will win. "I was getting texts from people just saying go and do it," Farah said. "I'm like: it's not as easy as that. If it was, it would be boring. Seriously. If it was, everyone would be winning."

But Farah again said his latest success had made the enforced absences from his wife and three daughters, while he trains at altitude, all the more worthwhile. "All the sacrifices make it tastier when you win," he said.

"As a parent you want to be there for them but at the same time it is my job. I'm not out there training and just enjoying myself.

"I'm sure one day the twins will understand," he added. "Rihanna understands now and was very lucky to come on the podium yesterday. She deserved that because of the amount of time I've been away."

Powered by article was written by Sean Ingle in Moscow, for The Guardian on Sunday 11th August 2013 22.01 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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