If Mo Farah is to repeat his double Olympic success at the World Championships next month, he may well reflect on yesterday's challenging IAAF Diamond League meet 5,000m as being the ideal precursor to his Russian mission. Farah, matched by Ethiopian pair Yenew Alamirew and Hagos Gebrhiwet, pulled away in the final 200m to secure a thrilling victory in 13:14.
Prior to the race, Farah was aware that his performance in Birmingham would be a strong indicator of what would be expected of him in Moscow. Moreover, the field at yesterday's event was brimming with quality -- Gebrhiwet and Alamirew are the fastest pair in the world this year, while Ibrahim Jeilan out-sprinted Farah in Daegu two years ago.
Up until the final bend, it looked like Alamirew was going to upset the crowd favourite at the Alexander Stadium. Tearing round the corner in the inside, Farah underlined how strong he is in the closing part of a race with an emphatic kick that left a clear gap between him and second placed Alamirew.
On the test Gebrhiwet and Alamirew presented, Farah later commented: "For me it's important to race against these guys. I could've had an easy race but I didn't want to have an easy race - I wanted to test myself, I wanted to know where I was. Training is going well, but training is one thing and competition is another."
Even if had the home advantage, Farah said the Ethiopian trio were working together during the race: "They tried to race me on the last lap today. [Now] they know they don't want to leave it to the last lap. So they'll probably sacrifice someone to go hard somewhere. Even today the three guys were talking between each other."
After coming under criticism for bowing out half-way through Virgin London marathon, Sunday's showing underlined Farah's determination to replicate his 5,000 and 10,000m double in Moscow next month.