In what was the latest episode in their highly engaging rivalry, Bernard Lagat secured victory in the 3,000m World Indoor Championships as Mo Farah narrowly missed out on third position. In a cruel twist to proceedings, the British athlete was awarded bronze after Edwin Cheruiyot Soi was disqualified for obstruction, only for the Kenyan to be reinstated after lodging an appeal.
Holding a steady position for the initial stages, Lagat showed an incredible turn of pace in the final lap to successfully defend his title and finish in 7:41:44. Fellow Kenyan Augustine Choge took silver with 7:41:77, while Soi, after the reinstatement, came in third position.
The altercation between Soi and Farah occurred at the final bend as the British runner tried to cut inside. Although the referees initially agreed Soi was guilty of obstruction, the decision was overturned after protests from the Kenyan camp. Farah commented on the incident: "I personally think that as I was obstructed and couldn't get out." Chief coach Charles Van Commennee concurred: "I was sure Mo was obstructed. We were stuffed."
Despite failing to win any of his last four races, including falling over during the Boston Mile, Farah didn't seem unduly perturbed about his form: "I've just got to keep working hard. The good thing is that this isn't in the Olympics. It's all a learning curve."
While Farah wasn't his closest competitor in Istanbul, Lagat feels there will only be one man to beat in London: "The biggest race for Mo right now is the Olympics," Lagat said. "He is going to leave here not with anger but with hunger. He is going to think again."