Mo Farah laid claim to being Britain’s greatest ever athlete last night when he became the first Briton to win both long distance titles at the Olympics and the World Championships.
Farah, who added the world 5,000m to the 10,000m title he won last Saturday, knelt down and kissed the ground after crossing the finish line in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.It is the fifth world or Olympic gold medal for the 30-year-old, after he won the 5,000m and 10,000m at last year’s Olympics and the 5,000m at the World Championships in Daegu in 2011.Farah and American training partner Galen Rupp were the only two athletes attempting both events, with doubts cast over how successful Farah would be after only having six days to recover from the first race.
Former middle distance champion Lord Coe said earlier that if Farah won the 5,000m he would be the ‘greatest British athlete of all time”.He said: ‘If Mo wins the 5,000m then you’d have to say he is the greatest British athlete of all time. He would be ahead of all of us with five global golds.’I’d say Mo would have no equal in Britain if he goes on to achieve the double following on from his two golds in London. It would be a fantastic achievement.”
Ahead of the race, Farah told the British public: ‘My message to everyone watching on TV is chill out, make a cup of tea, Mo’s on the track!”Following his victory, a clearly elated Farah walked around the track with a Union flag draped over his shoulders before jumping up in the air in excitement.Smiling and waving at fans, he then made his way to where his wife Tania and daughter Rihanna were sitting in the crowd, hugging them both as hundreds of camera bulbs flashed in his face.
He told the BBC: ‘I never thought in my career I would achieve something like this.’This is something I’ve worked so hard for. All I was thinking about was my kids and how much I’ve been away from them.”He said he found the race, which saw him stay behind at first before powering to the front in the final laps, a lot harder than the earlier event.’It was hard,” he said. ‘It was a lot more hard work than the last, I put so much hard work into it.Farah also thanked his team and the public for the support they had given him.’I had a lot of pressure but, at the same time, I enjoy it,” he said.
‘I’m very proud to represent my country and hold the Union Jack.”Farah became one of the top trending topics on Twitter with many taking to the site to congratulate him.Fellow athlete Jessica Ennis wrote: ‘Never in doubt! Another amazing performance! Go @Mo-Farah.”TV presenter Clare Balding tweeted: ‘Unbelievable! Mo Farah is just immense.”The Somalia-born long-distance runner won legions of fans with his gutsy performance at London 2012, while his ‘Mobot” pose became one of the most memorable images of the Games, with Usain Bolt, Robbie Williams and Boris Johnson among the many famous faces pictured mimicking it.
He topped off an eventful year by being made a CBE in the New Year Honours list but missed out on a top three position in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, having to settle for fourth place behind winner Bradley Wiggins, Jessica Ennis and Andy Murray.Farah, who coined the motto ‘Go Hard or Go Home”, spent most of his early life in Djibouti and arrived in London when he was eight to join his father.He settled in Hanworth, west London, and began running at school after being spotted by his PE teacher.
His story from the poverty-stricken streets of Somalia to top flight athletics is one that serves as an inspiration, both in Britain and his place of birth.His charity – the Mo Farah Foundation – helps to provide life-saving aid to some of the millions of people facing starvation and disease in East Africa.Farah spends most of his time in the United States where he has been able to train away from the spotlight.He currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Tania and three daughters, Rihanna, Aisha and Amani.Aside from athletics, Farah’s other sporting passion is Arsenal football club.