Mo Farah couldn’t quite manage to close his championship career with a second gold medal at the World Championships in London earlier this month but the Briton concluded his illustrious career on the tartan with a thrilling victory over 5000m in the Zurich Diamond League on Thursday night.
Farah was in his customary position at the front, holding the inside line at the bell but he still had four athletes - including world 5000m champion Muktar Edris - on his shoulder. Despite celebrating his 34th birthday earlier this season, Farah still possesses phenomenal pace and he produced a last lap of 52.61 to hold off Paul Chelimo and Edris, who both desperately threw themselves at the line in a bid to spoil Farah’s farewell race.
Farah just held on to win in 13:06.05 by four-hundredths from Chelimo and Edris - who were both given the same time - although Chelimo, the Olympic silver medallist behind Farah last year, was subsequently disqualified for obstruction.
“I wanted to win, and it is amazing that I have won,” said Farah. “But it was hard work. I will miss the track, the people, my fans. I have enjoyed running in stadium for a lot of years. But now first of all I enjoy to be with my family.”
But it won’t be too long until we see Farah back in action. He will be aiming to retain his half marathon title in the Great North Run on 17 September, a precursor to another full marathon attempt either this autumn or more likely next spring.
The margin of victory in the 100m was even smaller as Farah’s victory was preceded by another British triumph in the Letzigrund Stadium. Chijindu Ujah was disappointed to miss out on a place in the World Championships final but the 23-year-old produced the biggest win of his career, clocking 9.97 and beating world champion Justin Gatlin in the process.
“This is like a personal revenge for the world championships for me, I was pretty upset not to be in the final. So today, I redeemed myself,” he said. “It is great to beat the world champion.”
Ujah was crowned Diamond League champion and leaves Zurich with his bank balance enriched by $50,000 but by the smallest of margins - just 0.001 separated Ujah and Ben Youssef Meite from the Ivory Coast.
Spotakova and Vadlejch make it a Czech double
A fortnight after claiming her second world javelin title in London, Barbora Spotakova secured her fifth Diamond League trophy with a sixth round throw of 65.54m, although she wasn’t entirely satisfied with her evening’s efforts.
“I did very good throws in the warm-up; I thought it was going to be a very good competition for me. And then I did my furthest throw in the sixth attempt, but this sixth attempt was not a nice one. I am a little disappointed about this. I do not like to finish my season with such a throw,” she said.
Australia’s Kelsey-Lee Roberts was second with a lifetime best of 64.53m but Olympic champion Sara Kolak - who led the competition heading into the final round - had to settle for third with 64.47m.
The men’s javelin was touted as another clash between Olympic champion Thomas Rohler and world champion Johannes Vetter but they had to settle for second (86.59m) and fourth (86.15m) respectively as world silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch claimed victory with his second round throw of 88.50m.
At the start of the programme, Zuzana Hejnova improved her season’s best to 54.13 to secure her second big win since finishing fourth at the World Championships. The 400m hurdles was a non-Diamond League event in Zurich but Hejnova has booked herself a lane for the finale in Brussels on 1 September where she is aiming for a top three finish.
In the men’s 400m hurdles, Karsten Warholm suffered his first defeat of the season but he was still rewarded with a lifetime best and Norwegian record of 48.22.
While Warholm stormed to the world title on a cold and wet evening in London earlier this month, world-leader Kyron McMaster from the British Virgin Islands was disqualified from his heat for a lane infringement and the 20-year-old had the beating of the three world medallists in 48.07.