Britain’s Mo Farah proved he was still the man to beat heading into the World Championships with a 5,000m win over a high-class field at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting in central England on Sunday.
Farah, who won gold medals in both the 5,000m and 10,000m at last year’s London Olympics, saw off the Ethiopian duo of Yenew Alamirew and Hagos Gebrhiwet — the world’s two fastest men over the shorter distance this year — in a last lap sprint that saw him win in a time of 13 minutes 14.71 seconds.
It was an encouraging display by Farah ahead of the World Championships in Moscow next month and afterwards the 30-year-old told the BBC: “The young guys wanted to beat me, I’m the guy to beat. I had to dig deep. The pace was slow and the conditions weren’t great — it was very windy. Ultimately you’ve got to get the job done and to win the race.”
“[The other runners] were working as a team, but you’ve got hold your form and make sure you’ve got something else left,” he said.
“It’s all about the World Championships. I’m just going to keep training hard,” Farah said. “These guys know they tried to race me on the last lap today, [now] they know they don’t want to leave it to the last lap.”
“They’ll probably sacrifice someone to go hard somewhere [in Moscow]; even today the three guys were talking between each other. The race was tough, but it was important for me to race these guys,” he said.
“I could have had an easy race, but I didn’t want an easy race. I wanted to test myself and to know where I was. I’m just really happy I won,” Farah said.
Meanwhile a men’s 400m hurdles featuring all three London 2012 medallists was won by Javier Culson, who took Olympic bronze last year.
Rhys Williams, son of Welsh rugby great JJ Williams, was second, with Olympic silver medallist Michael Tinsley in third place.
Williams’ fellow Welshman Dai Greene, the reigning world champion was fifth, ahead of Olympic champion Felix Sanchez.
Britain’s Greg Rutherford, the current Olympic long jump champion, was beaten into second place by Aleksandr Menkov. The Russian won with a leap of 8.27m, with Rutherford unable to improve on a third round jump of 8.11m.
Jamaica’s Nesta Carter won the men’s 100m in 9.99 seconds, with Britain’s James Dasaolu second in a personal best of 10.03.
A women’s 200m featuring Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the US’ Carmelita Jeter — the silver and bronze medallists from last year’s Olympic final — was in fact won by Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare in 22.55 seconds.
In the women’s 400m, Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu — Olympic champion in Beijing and silver medallist in London — beat Botswana’s Amantle Montsho, who had posted the three fastest times in the world this year over the distance, by a tenth of a second in 50.63.
“You don’t want to be completely championship ready just yet, because you’ve got a month to try and hold that,” Ohuruogu said. “It’s a slow build up to Moscow.”
There was further home success in the women’s 400m hurdles when Britain’s Perri Shakes-Drayton won in a season’s best time of 53.82 seconds — the fourth fastest time this year.
Completing a notable day on the track for British women, teenage rising star Jessica Judd won the 800m, the 18-year-old breaking the two-minute barrier and the World Championship A standard for the first time in her career when she crossed the line in 1:59.85.