Sir Mo Farah brought his glittering track career to a victorious conclusion in the Diamond League 5,000m final at Zürich on Thursday (24 August). The small man with the enormous heart ran arguably his finest race to leave his opponents littering the track in the Letzigrund Stadium after one of the most dramatic finishes to a 5,000m race ever seen.
Farah won 10 global gold medals and is the only man in history to have won back-to-back Olympic doubles at 5,000m and 10,000m. His six world titles started in 2011 at Daegu in the 5,000m and concluded earlier this month in London at 10,000m, after which he was finally beaten by Ethiopia's Muktar Edris in the 5,000m.
However, he has never won the IAAF Diamond League final – until now. For Farah fans the race could not have been better scripted and the nature of his victory will have won over many of his detractors. The best in the world simply threw everything at Farah, including their bodies at the finish line, yet he still prevailed by the tiniest margin.
This was a case of men who had good reasons to believe they could win against one man who knew that he had to win his final track race. The break after his silver in the London world championships 5,000m had energised Farah and gave him the strength to resist a scrappy challenge in the back straight on the final lap in Switzerland.
The finishing straight saw five athletes straining every sinew, with Farah (13:06.05) emerging triumphant by four hundredths from world champion Muktar Edris (Ethiopia), who ended up sprawled on the track after a desperate lunge for the line. Edris tripped his countryman Yomif Kejelcha, who was third but also floored, and all three finished within 0.13sec. Paul Chelimo (USA) simply could not find a way through the melee and after using his arms to try to prise a gap was disqualified.
Farah's reaction was one of sheer delight: “I wanted to win and it is amazing that I have won. But it was hard work. I will miss the track, the people, my fans. I have enjoyed running in this stadium for a lot of years. But now, first of all I will enjoy being with my family.”