British athletics legend Mo Farah narrowly failed to complete a fifth successive global double on Saturday when he finished second behind Ethiopian Muktar Edris in a thrilling 5,000 metres world final.
The 34-year-old, whose winning run in the 5,000m at Olympics and world finals stretched back to 2011, fought desperately to claw back the deficit in the finishing straight but Edris held on to win in 13min 32.79sec.
Edris celebrated by holding his hands up over his head in the ‘Mobot’ gesture that Farah had invented for his succession of victories.
Farah, a two-time double world champion and two time double Olympic champion, finished in 13:33.22 just failing to repeat his memorable Olympic double on the same track in 2012.
Farah, who had won the 10,000m last Friday to open the championships with a bang, said he couldn’t have given it more but added he had proved that it was possible to break up the Ethiopian and Kenya hegemony over the distance races.
“I gave it my all, 110%,” said Farah.
“I don’t think there was any more I could have done. They (the Ethiopians) run as a team.
“Never feel like you can’t beat the Kenyans and Ethiopians – anything is possible.”
Farah – who immediately went to his family as he has made a habit of doing – said he had had an extraordinary ride in the past six years.
“It’s been amazing. It’s been a long journey but it’s been incredible,” said Farah who was embraced by his fans as he made his way around the stadium on a lap of honour, stopping to sign autographs and pose for ‘selfies’.
“It doesn’t quite sink in until you compete here and cross the line -– I had a couple of minutes to myself -– that this is it.”
American Paul Chelimo added world bronze to his Olympic silver, timing 13.33.30.
Edris said his ‘Mobot’ gesture was both a symbol of the passing of the champion’s baton and a mark of respect for Farah.
“Mo has many victories but now I have one,” said the 23-year-old.
“I am the new champion for Ethiopia. That’s why I did the Mobot. I am the next champion.
“I have won the gold in front of his home crowd. I didn’t have much support but we did it. I did the Mobot out of respect as well for him.”
Farah and his team-mate Andrew Butchart had tried to break up the field with 600 metres to go in a race that had been run at generally a very slow pace.
However, Edris and team-mate Yomif Kejelcha seized the initiative as the bell went and Farah struggled to go with them.
He fell several metres behind them going down the back straight.
Edris led round the final bend with Farah under pressure from Kenyan-born Chelimo as they hit the straight.
Edris gritted his teeth and set sail for home with Farah moving down the inside to try and engineer a remarkable final burst but the gas just wasn’t there.
“I thought it might be possible, but my legs had had it,” said Farah.
“I got boxed in early on (in the final charge) – it doesn’t normally happen – and couldn’t get out.”