'I will get you in Rio' Ndiku puts more Farah on notice after flat 5k race

By evelyn watta
Aug 29, 2021
  • Caleb Ndiku(left)with Mo Farah,the double gold medalist and Hagos Gebrhiwe of Ethiopia after the 5000m race.(Photo by Getty Images for IAAF)

  • Caleb Ndiku celebrates after winning the silver in 5000m.(Photo by Getty Images for IAAF)

  • Eunice Sum is edged out by Belarusian Marina Arzamasova and Melisa Bishop of Canada in the women's 800m..(Photo by Getty Images for IAAF)

BEIJING - Mo Farah could not have wished for an easier 5000m after the sapping longer track event where he was paced and pushed by the charged Kenyan trio.

Saturday’s race at the Birds Nest was reduced to a slowed uneventful final that looked more of a qualifying heat.

The favourites stayed at the back of the pack leaving Farah’s British teammate Tom Farrell to lap the opening 2km.

The hoped paced when Imane Merga, who dropped out of the 10000m Farah won eight days ago, eased forward, disappointedly stayed put.

All through the only Kenyan at a touching distance of the leaders was Isiah Koech with Edwin Soi just ahead of Ndiku at the back, clear there was no team plan for the race.

Farah finally made his move with about two laps to go, spurring Ndiku to run after 11 minutes of plodding.

The 3000m world indoor champion led for the next lap with Farah just a step behind. Ndiku’s hoped speed was just that as they lapped in 1:58. A mistake that he rued two minutes later as Farah came charging down chasing history.

The young Kenyan painfully watched Farah on the stadium big screen as he zoomed past at the final bend and pulled away strongly in the last 50m timing 1:54 after the bell.

Ndiku who had vowed to stop Farah in his first major senior championship was drained and was lucky to hang on for silver with Hagos Gebrhiwet, the silver winner in Moscow closing in fast.

Experience counted for Farah as won in 13:50.38, an ingenious triple distance double after Moscow and London, sedated pace, than his qualifying 13:19.44. Ndiku, the commonwealth games champion openly displeased with his silver in 13:51.75 after racing to his season best in the heats of 13:19.58 as Gebrhiwet managed bronze in 13:5.86 just ahead of Kejelcha, the world youth and Junior champion (13:52.43).

“I had to dig deep. It came down to the last 100m. I felt a bit tired. The important thing is to win the race and I did just that. I never panicked, obviously he went for it, he wanted to win more than anything else,”said 32-year-old Farah.

We are tired of pacing for people

Ndiku his hair dyed marooned wanted the title so bad but the Kenyans and Ethiopians lacked the right tactics that had seen their compatriots Eliud Kipchoge win the 2003 race or Kenenisa Bekele’s grab the double in Berlin.

“It was a funny race no one wanted to push.Normally it’s the Kenyans who push and lap. We have become like pace makers, not any more. When we had everyone pushing the pace like Kipchoge, Bekele it was good,”said Ndiku, conceding that the slow pace played out in Farah’s favour.

“We were not fearing Farah but he like the rest waits for us to pace an they hit us in the last lap.He had done the 10k so he had the mileage.

The pace helped him survive and he killed everyone. I knew I had lost it in the last 50m,” he continued of a race adjudged by many as lacking the championships excitement. Kenya’s other finalists Koech(13:55.98) dropped to eighth while Soi was 10th(13:59.02).

"Athletics is not only about winning, we must also entertain the fans who pay, This has not been the case with the 5000 over the last 10 year,”reckoned Benjamin Limo, the former world champion one of the 54, 000 spectators at the National stadium on Saturday evening.

He added:“The 10000m was better, where they exchange in lapping and then an explosive finish for the strongest athlete.”

“I don't know why they raced like that, such a dull slow race. Not good at all. Bekele was special,”remarked Dube Julo, the technical director of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation clearly disappointed at his athletes collapse, which denied them their hankered second gold.

But to Ndiku, Farah was not the strongest but the luckiest of the day.

“I wanted to race him last year when we were both fit to see who is the best. So I hope I can can stay fit and in Rio if he beats me then I will admit he is the greatest in 5000m. I know I will get him there,” Ndiku challenged, insisting that he was not in the best shape after the long knee injury lay off that kept him off training till around April.

Sum relegated to bronze

kenya’s only other medal of the day came in the 800m, not the hoped gold but a bronze as Eunice Sum, failing to find her usual springy pace for the two laps.

After qualifying as the fastest loser, a shaky Sum went out quickly in the final though she led at the bell in 59:10, she had Belarusian Marina Arzamasova and Melisa Bishop the Canadian, shadowing her.

The usual front runner ran out of steam with about 200m as the Belarusian closed in on her. She managed to hang on in the last 50m but slowed at the finish, as Marina crossed the line join 1:58.03, and Bishop snatched the silver in 1:58.12.

The 2013 worlds winner just hang on for bronze in 1:58.18 ahead of Moroccan Rababe Arafi(1:58.90).

“I am happy with bronze , when I was coming to the championships I had the pressure to defend my title. I have been in great shape but haven't had the best of the last days. I really tried to push but knew I had lost it just on the line ,but am back in Zurich for diamond league defense,”said Sum, pleased with bronze after the bad day in office.

Medal standings 

Kenya just managed to retain their lead at the top of the medal standings with higher silver count (4) as the Jamaicans levelled the gold tally at six and two silvers with United States third with five and and Great Britain with four gold medals.

Kenyan runners will look to win Gold in women’s marathon and the 1500m and which could leave them at the top even if the Jamaicans win the closing relay sprints.

But this could change if the Americans win the two races and Kenya bags the two gold medals as USA currently has five silver medals.