World Championships 5,000m Betting: The threats to another magic Mo-ment

Tough guy - Mo Farah is tripped but keeps going on his way to gold
Tough guy - Mo Farah is tripped but keeps going on his way to gold
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History maker Sir Mo Farah hasn't lost a major outdoor championship since 2011. Ralph Ellis assesses the 34-year-old's next challenge at the London Stadium.

"Farah himself believes the big threat will again come from Cheptegei, who was third in that race, but Selemon Barega’s youthful exuberance will make him a danger and well worth backing at a likely price of around [3.9] when the market settles for a place in the top three."

I've always had sympathy with footballers who get accused of diving when they've clearly been caught by a defender's trailing foot.

The pundits love to use the phrase about how "he went down too easily", but I tend to give the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo the benefit of the doubt. Running at full tilt it needs only the slightest touch to knock them off balance.

After watching Sir Mo Farah storm to his latest gold medal in the 10,000m final at the World Championships last Friday, however, I'm going to have to change my views.

He was running at a pace to make even Ronaldo look sluggish when twice on the last lap he got tripped and spiked. The damage was bad enough he needed three stitches in his left shin after the race. But he just kept his balance, kept going, and left his rivals trailing in his wake.

It was a deeply impressive performance, arguably the greatest of even his mercurial career, and showed a steely side that we might have suspected was there but had never seen such proof of.

Not surprising, then, that when he begins his defence of his 5,000 metres title tonight he is a massive [1.42] to collect his fourth World Championships gold at that distance in a row.

The 34-year-old stood up to what bordered on bullying at the longer distance, as each of the African teams tried to work together to bring him down. The Kenyans went for stop-go tactics, upping the pace then slowing it down. Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei tried to run him from the front.

Farah is already in the history books as the only man apart from Lasse Viren to do the Olympic distance double twice. To complete three successive World Championship doubles would be unprecedented.

But to get there he will have to show the same sort of bloody minded conviction again, because this time the gang threat will come from Ethiopia.

Second favourite Muktar Edris [7.4] gave notice earlier this summer when he posted the year's fastest time of 12:55:23 in winning a Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, and on the same night his 17-year-old compatriot Selemon Barega [22.0] was just a third of a second slower.

Farah himself believes the big threat will again come from Cheptegei, who was third in that race, but Barega's youthful exuberance will make him a danger and well worth backing at a likely price of around [3.9] when the market settles for a place in the top three.

If he and Edris produce that pace again they will ask questions of Farah. He's always been the great tactician in these major finals, finding a blistering finish to leave the rest floundering in the last 100 metres.

But that has meant he's only once ever been required to run even close to 13 minutes - when he did 13:03 for his gold in Rio - and in the last Worlds in 2015 his time was outside 13:50.

Still nursing a bruised knee from last Friday it does put a question mark over Mo's chances if you want to take the big odds-on bet. At least you know, though, that if he does go down it won't happen "too easily".

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