Sunday, September 4, 2011

Daily Daegu: On the last day, Mo Farah gets his Gold

Farah's eyes now turn to London 2012
The Brits will have a lot to be excited about heading into London 2012. After many years of mediocrity in the distance events, they now have the favorite, or at minimum, co-favorite, for both the 5000 and 10,000 in Mo Farah. Farah looked great on Day 9 in Daegu, taking charge when he needed to and powering home for that Gold Medal in the 5000; the one he desperately wanted in the 10,000. His winning time was 13:23.26. Bernard Lagat gave a hard charge down the homestretch to pass the Ethiopians, Imane Merga and Dejen Gebremeskel, for Silver, but ran out of room to catch Farah. Merga held on for third, but was disqualified for stepping inside the rail. Karma for his continued jostling with force? Perhaps. Gebremeskel came in fourth, but will be awarded the Bronze. Farah's training partner, Galen Rupp, looked great until about 450 to go, when he just couldn't kick with the big boys. Rupp's last lap was 58, Farah's was 52. Rupp would finish ninth.

The Women's 800 was a barn burner as well, as it looked to be Gold for Caster Semenya with 200 to go. At that point, Russia's Mariya Savinova had one more push and outlasted Semenya to the line to take the Gold in a blazing 1:55.87. The early leader, Kenya's Janeth Jepkosgei, barely held off a diving Alysia Montano, for the Bronze. Montano's time was 1:57.48. Maggie Vessey finished sixth in a season's best of 1:58.50. A strong showing, but not likely what she wanted.

Kirui didn't stay with the pack long
The night before was the Abel Kirui show in the Men's Marathon. Kirui broke free around 25k and ran a 14:17 5k from 25k to 30k. That was enough to secure his victory and his victory was huge. Kenya's Vincent Kipruto finished second in 2:10:06, which was 2:28 behind Kirui's 2:07:38. Kirui is now a repeat World Champion. Can he bring that kind of intensity to London next year? He'll surely have better competition, but he would have beaten just about anyone today. Ethiopia's Feyisa Lilesa broke up the Kenyan sweep with a Bronze finish in 2:10:32. Mike Morgan, of the Hanson-Brooks Distance Project, was the top American in 31st in 2:18:30. Nick Arciniaga, the most accomplished American on the team, finished a disappointing 41st in 2:24:06. Hard to think he'll truly be a threat to make the London team with a performance like that going into the trials, but maybe he was holding back a little or just having a bad day. The Marathon is a strange beast.

The night finished with the 4x100's. The Women's went off first and the Americans did not disappoint. Bianca Knight got off to a great start, Allyson Felix worked the backstretch, Marshevet Myers ran an unbelievable curve and Carmelita Jeter isn't going to give away a lead in the final stretch. A job well done and a Gold Medal to show. The Men were up next and would be the last event on the track for the 2011 IAAF Track and Field World Championships. The Jamaicans were the heavy favorite and delivered as promised. They went above and beyond with a new World Record in 37.04. All this without Asafa Powell. The Americans failed to finish yet again, although this was just as much the British team's fault as it was Doc Patton's. Coming around the third curve, Patton caught an elbow from Great Britain's Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, sending him to the track and ending the United States' chances at Silver. Could it have been avoided? Probably. Just more disappointment for the 4x100. Not much you can do in that situation, except to be aware it may happen next time.

All in all, the 2011 IAAF Track and Field Championships went off without a hitch. The United States got more medals than expected and had some very nice surprises in the distance events with Jenny Simpson taking the Gold in the 1500 and Matt Centrowitz taking the Bronze in the 1500 as well. All eyes will focus on London 2012 now. Hope you enjoyed the coverage here and on Universal Sports!

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