British double Olympic champion Mo Farah won his first world championship in the 10,000 meters Saturday on the first day of action at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Farah took the lead with 800 meters to go and never relinquished after a slow early pace on an 82-degree day. Farah held off 2011 world champion Ibrahim Jeilan, sprinting a 54.49 final lap.
“Definitely had the experience from a couple years ago,” Farah, who was passed on the final straight by Jeilan in 2011, told the BBC. “This time I saw him (Jeilan) coming at the bell. I knew he was behind me. It was important to have something left.”
He won in 27 minutes, 21.71 seconds, kissed the blue track, broke into his trademark Mobot pose and did a victory lap draped in a Great Britain flag with the words “FLY MO” printed on it. Jeilan took silver in 27:22.23. Kenyan Paul Tanui grabbed bronze.
Americans Galen Rupp and Dathan Ritzenhein were in medal positions at different points over the last 2,000 meters and finished fourth and 10th, respectively.
“The aim was me and my training partner Galen Rupp to work together,” Farah told the BBC. “The (other) guys were going out there to take a little out of me.”
Rupp, who trains with Farah, won silver in the 10,000 at the 2012 Olympics.
An Ethiopian had won nine of the previous 10 world titles in the 10,000. This was the first time since 1991 that the worlds final did not include either of the Ethiopian legends and four-time 10,000 world champions Haile Gebrselassie or Kenenisa Bekele.
Farah is the first man running for a non-East African country to win the 10,000 world title since the first World Championships in 1983.
Farah will try to match his 5,000-10,000 double from the London Olympics. He returns to the track for heats of the 5,000 on Tuesday. The final is Friday. Bekele is the only man to win both the 5,000 and 10,000 at the same worlds, doing so in 2009.
Farah made news before the World Championships by challenging Usain Bolt to a race and boxer Amir Khan to a fight.