Mo Farah defends 10k title on World Athletics day one
Great Britain’s Mo Farah successfully defended the men’s 10000m title on day one at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing, holding off the Kenyan contingent to win a fourth Gold medal at this level in 27:01.14.
Attempts to tire the long distance double Olympic champion by setting a frenetic lap pace of 63-65 seconds during the middle section of race backfired on the African athletes.
Farah kept with the world cross-country and half-marathon champion Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor, and survived a couple of clipping incidents, to dispel ghosts of the 2008 Olympic Games – also held in the Bird’s Nest stadium.
Later in the championships, we should see Farah bid to win a third consecutive 5000m title.
British duo Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson lead the Heptathlon after four of seven events. It’s the more-experienced Ennis-Hill, competing at this elite level for the first time since the birth of her son, that holds an 80-point advantage over her up-and-coming compatriot.
Pre-Championships favourite Brianne Thiesen-Eaton is fourth behind Dutch athlete Nadine Visser, but they remain in contention just a 130-140 points or so off the pace.
Host nation China saw their Gold medal hope in the women’s shot put, Lijiao Gong, have to settle for Silver behind favourite Christina Schwanitz. The German threw 7cm further. Michelle Carter, as expected, scooped Bronze for the USA.
Men’s 100m Gold medal contenders Usain Bolt (9.96) and Justin Gatlin (fastest at 9.83) won their heats, and were two of eight athletes under 10 seconds in this opening round.
British duo Richard Kilty and CJ Ujah join the big names in the semi-finals, but James Dasaolu missed out on a faster losers’ spot by a tenth of a second.
The medals in this blue ribband event will be decided on Sunday with the semis taking place earlier in the day. Bolt (6/5) trails Gatlin (odds-on at 4/6) in the betting for Gold, and it’s 7/1 that a new world record is set.
Some hurdling heavyweights crashed out in men’s 400m heats over the obstacles, as defending world champion Jehue Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago an 2005 winner Bershawn Jackson (USA) both slumped to early exits.
Impressive Kenyan athlete Nicholas Bett is now the 3/1 favourite to wrestle this Gold medal away from the Americas to Africa.
Over double that distance on the flat, Botswana’s Commonwealth champion Nijel Amos remains a narrow 2/1 favourite to follow up that success in Glasgow last summer with another Gold in Beijing.
Defending 800m champion Mohammed Aman is a big price to follow Farah’s example and get another world gold at 11/1.
World record holder and Olympic champion David Rudisha is 10/3 to get one over his rival after also coming through his heat with ease.
Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba is strongly odds-on to take the women’s 1500m title after an impressive first round run.