By Ian Chadband
LONDON (Reuters) – Mo Farah is confident he can win the 5,000 metres at the World Athletics Championships despite injuring his knee and needing three stitches in his left leg after his epic 10,000 metres triumph on Friday.
The 34-year-old Briton told reporters on Saturday that he was concerned about his knee, which he hurt in a clash with Kenyan bronze medallist Paul Tanui during a frenetic last lap.
Yet he was adamant he would be “fine” to shoot for his fifth consecutive golden 5,000/10,000m distance double at a global championship as he had four days of recovery time before the heats of the shorter event on Wednesday.
Asked if he could achieve the double in his final championships as a track runner, Farah responded: “I’ve got a few scratches, I’ve got a few bruises but if I believe enough, and if I rest up enough, it’s possible. I do believe.”
He explained that he had needed stitches in his left leg after the race.
“It’s just the three little ones. I’m not worried about that,” he said, referring to what he felt was the most bruising battle of his brilliant career.
“I’m more worried about the knee, it’s just slightly banged up,” he added, pointing to his left leg.
Farah said he “got spiked” at a point in the race which he couldn’t remember. “It’s fine, it happens,” he added, shrugging about the occupational hazards of being an elite distance runner.
The knee problem, though, flared up after one of two seemingly accidental clashes with Tanui soon after the bell in the 25-lap event as the leaders jostled for pole position.
“The knee was when I nearly tripped at the bell twice and I happened to catch my other knee,” he said. “It’s like when you’re falling but catch it. It’s just a bruise and puffed up.”
Farah believed he had come through the biggest test during his six-year unbeaten streak in major championships as he faced a concerted effort from his Kenyan, Ugandan and Ethiopian rivals.
“With 3,000 to go, I was hurting and I was tired and there was a lot of stuff going on, a lot of elbows. Physically, that race was crazy,” he said.
“Have I had a race that hard and ended up that banged up? No. Last night was difficult, it was hard, the guys gave it to me – each one of them but at the same time they were working as a team.
“It felt like me against the whole world – and it was.
“The Ugandan guys were looking for the Kenyan guys, the Kenyan guys were looking for the Ugandan guys, a couple of Ethiopians. They worked that well, fair play to them.”
Ultimately, though, their joint efforts could not ruffle Farah, who won his 10th successive global track title in world championships and Olympics with his fastest championship 10,000m run, 26 minutes 49.51 seconds, the quickest in the world this year.
Now, one more immense test remains. The Briton says the 5,000m will be his last championship track event before he concentrates on marathon running and he hopes to make it the perfect farewell next Saturday by winning a seventh world title.
(Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Ed Osmond)