Britain’s Mo Farah on Saturday produced a devastating 5,000m display at the IAAF Diamond League Anniversary Games in London to prove he is in top form heading into the Rio Olympics.
The 33-year-old showed exactly why he is the favorite to defend his two Olympic titles in Brazil next month with a stunning example of speed and stamina at the Olympic stadium.
His time of 12 minutes, 59.29 seconds was the fastest mark of the year, and the fourth time in his career that he has dipped under 13 minutes.
Most ominously for those trying to catch him, particularly the Kenyans, this was his fastest time in the discipline since before the London 2012 Olympics.
Farah made his move after 3,600m and never looked back, making the final 1,400m appear almost like celebratory laps of honor. He crossed the finishing line by doing his trademark Mobot celebration.
Fellow Briton Andrew Butchart was second in a time of 13 minutes, 14.85 seconds, with the US’ Bernard Lagat third in a season’s best 13 minutes, 14.96 seconds.
“This is amazing, I got amazing support from the crowd,” said Farah. “I wanted to do it for them.”
“This is my last chance before Rio, this track has so much meaning to me. Not many athletes can do it in their hometown,” Farah said.
“This is my best form [heading into a major event]. I am in good shape. I have to keep my feet on the ground. Anything can happen over the next two-and-a-half weeks. I have to stay patient and cool,” he added.
Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers consolidated her position as the No. 1 sprinter in the Diamond League format by winning the women’s 200m.
The world champion, who ran the third-fastest time in history in Beijing last year, crossed the line in 22.13 seconds — 0.5 seconds ahead of the US’ Tiffany Townsend.
Schippers, who ran into a 0.8m per second headwind, said: “The main thing is to win the race, not the time. The times will come in Rio. I can handle the [favorite] tag. I am never nervous, which is good for me.”
Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast set a personal best of 10.96 seconds to cruise to victory in the women’s 100m. Trinidadian Michelle-Lee Ahye was second (10.99 seconds), while Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica’s 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion, was behind the pace in 11.06 seconds.
In a hotly-anticipated women’s long jump, Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson earned a rare victory over compatriot and Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Johnson-Thompson, 23, produced six consistent jumps, with her winning leap a season’s best of 6.84m.
British Anguillan-born Shara Proctor was second with a best for this year of 6.80m, while Ennis-Hill was seventh out of the eight competitors.
It was a frustrating day for Ennis-Hill, with her Olympic heptathlon title defense on the horizon.
“I would have liked to have got closer to my PB [personal best] and taken some confidence from the long jump, but it reminds me that there is still a bit of work to do. I have to keep focused and work hard,” Ennis-Hill, 30, said.
“I think I just need to sharpen up now, I’ll go into the heptathlon fresh. I will go and concentrate on the job in hand. These will be my last Olympics so I just want to enjoy it,” she added.
Matthew Hudson-Smith, was victorious in the men’s 400m in 45.03 seconds, while there was even more for the home fans to cheer as their men’s 4x100m relay squad produced the best time of the year.
Kerron Clement of the US edged out Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson in the men’s 400m hurdles with a season’s best of 48.40 seconds.
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