Belfast Telegraph

Mo Farah feat will raise doubts, admits Seb Coe

By Simon Peach

Lord Coe admitted he felt for Mo Farah that his "spectacular" achievement in becoming the first man in history to complete the long-distance 'triple double' would be greeted by some with scepticism.

The 32-year-old racked up his seventh straight global title when he added the 5,000m crown to his 10,000m triumph at the World Championships in Beijing.

The Briton had already won over both distances at the London Olympics in 2012 and the World Championships in Moscow the following year.

His latest successes at the Bird's Nest, though, came at the end of a tumultuous year in which he was caught up in the doping allegations surrounding his coach Alberto Salazar.

Salazar has denied all the claims against him, while Farah was accused of no wrongdoing, but Coe accepted it was sadly predictable that his achievements would raise eyebrows, especially given the state of the sport at the moment. The build-up to the championships was dominated by allegations of widespread doping.

"Mo is a wonderful athlete," said the incoming president of the International Association of Athletics Federations.

"I have watched his progress from the junior ranks, I've stood at the side of tracks when he's been competing and I've awarded him medals when he was a junior athlete.

"This is part of the challenge we have. I remember breaking the world mile record in 1981 and I was dubbed by most people an overnight sensation.

"I had to remind them it had taken me 10 years to get to that position since joining my first athletics club."

Farah's unprecedented spell of global domination - he has not lost a major outdoor final since 2011 - has reopened the debate about where he stands in the pantheon of all-time greats of the sport.

Former Olympic medallist Brendan Foster described him as Britain's "greatest sportsman".

Coe said: "He is a wonderful athlete, I'll leave the greatest-ever tag to others.

"If I conceded that I would lose a lifelong friendship with Daley Thompson."

Great Britain celebrated double relay joy as the championships came to a close, with both the men and women's teams securing 4x400 metres relay bronze.

Having seen Christine Ohuruogu, Anyika Onuora, Eilidh Child and Seren Bundy-Davies impressively secure bronze, the reigning European men's champions followed suit at the Bird's Nest.

Rabah Yousif, Delano Williams and Jarryd Dunn got Great Britain off to a fine start, with team captain Martyn Rooney anchoring them home in style just ahead of Jamaica in two minutes 58.51 seconds.

USA won the race - a sixth successive men's 4x400m gold - in a world-leading 2:57.82, with Trinidad and Tobago second despite a national record time.

The Americans had been expected to do the double, but Jamaica pipped the favourites to glory in the women's event and Britain secured bronze with a season's best 3:23.62.

Only two other British athletes were involved on the final evening of competition, with Charlie Grice's time of 3:36.21 seeing him finish ninth in the men's 1,500m final and Steph Twell ending 12th in the 5,000m.

Belfast Telegraph


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