10 Aug

Mo Marked Man For 5,000m

Farah in the qualifying heat

Even if he could afford to relax over the final 50m of his heat with the knowledge that he had secured the third of five qualifying places, Mo Farah admitted that Wednesday's race was something of a battle and that he is certainly a 'target' after his 10,000m victory.

The opening stages of Wednesday's heat involved a lot of barging and pushing in what was a congested field, an experience Farah likened it to, "being in the ring with Anthony Ogogo." As light-hearted as the comparison may be, Saturday's final, even with fewer competitors, is likely to be just as rough as the heat.

With a finishing time of 13:26, Farah gave an honest assessment of his performance: "I am definitely tired and I think it showed out there. The legs didn't feel great but that is what happens. Hopefully I will recover well and look forward to the final, forget about what I have done and rest up."

Mo Farah

Rest may be the key ingredient after the physical and psychological exertions of becoming the first Briton to win a 10,000m event at the Olympics: "By the time I got back it was a late night and there was a lot of emotion. It is something I had never done before and now I know how much it takes out of you."

As tired as he may have been, Farah's qualifying time sits just three seconds slower than his winning performance in Daegu last year (13:23:26), which suggests the final may turn out to be a faster race than the World Championships. This stands in contrast to the 10,000m, where Farah's winning time of 27:30 was slower than the 27:14 that could only secure him silver in Daegu.

If qualifying times are an indicator of current form, Farah's competition looks likely to come from the fastest qualifiers Dejen Gebremeskel (13:15:15), Yenew Alamirew (13:15:23) and Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa (13:15:41). More recognisable faces, such as Bernard Lagat and training partner Galen Rupp, should certainly not be discounted.

As much as the heats were an eye-opener, the final will also depend heavily on the tactical strength of each competitor. Farah's performance on Saturday was evidence of an astute runner biding his time, gauging the field and kicking at the correct point. His defeat to Ibrahim Jeilan in last year's World Championships was agonising, yet was an experience from which he has certainly gained.

The home-advantage, of course, should certainly not be overlooked and is an environment Farah clearly thrives on: "It is amazing to have the crowd. I want to do well for the crowd because the support drives you further. Whatever I do I will give 100%. I am full of confidence and having the home crowd will definitely drive me more."

If anything, Farah was a marked man in the lead up to the 10,000m, and the heightened since of anticipation didn't seem to hinder his performance. The bonus of a few days rest, plus the atmosphere in what will be the penultimate day of the Olympics, will no doubt set Farah on the right track to becoming a double gold medal winner.