The action at the World Athletics Championships in London begins tomorrow, and on the very first night, there is a final with the gold medal up for grab in the Men’s 10,000 meters final.
There is no doubt that the heavy favorite for the title is Mo Farah, the two-time defending champion and two-time Olympic champion who will be hoping to secure victory in front of his home crowd- just as he did five years ago at the Olympic Games. However, there are a few potential threats who could challenge the Brit’s dominance over the long distance events.
The final will start at 21:20 local time, with the winner taking home the first gold medal of the Championships.
As previously mentioned, the favorite for the title will be Farah. After finishing in second place at this distance at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, the Brit has won every long distance title at the major championships (including in the 5,000 meters) and has been virtually unbeatable, though there are some other medal contenders.
The fastest man in the world this year over the distance is Abada Hadis. The Ethiopian, aged only 19, is fairly inexperienced but clearly has the ability to race well and will likely improve on his 15th place finish in the Olympic final last year. Hadis’ fellow Ethiopian, Jemal Yimer, is the second-fastest man over the distance this year and could also be in contention. Fellow Ethiopian Andamlak Belihu could also be a factor.
Perhaps the biggest threats to Farah will be Paul Tanui, a silver medalist at the Olympics last year and a bronze medalist at the World Championships in 2015, and Geoffrey Kamworor, a silver medalist two years ago and the World Cross Country champion this year. Neither of the two is in the top ten in terms of times this year, though clearly know how to perform on the big stage and could be helped by fellow Kenyan Bedan Muchiri. Further threats could come in the Ugandan trio of Timothy Toroitich, Moses Kurong, and Joshua Cheptegei.
Unlike a lot of long distance finals in major championships, the finals of this event both at the Olympics last summer and at the last World Championships have been fairly quick; it will be interesting to see whether this final follows that path, or becomes fairly slow and extremely tactical like previous finals.
It seems likely that Farah will adopt his usual tactic of sitting towards the back in the early stages, and will likely slowly move up the field at around the halfway mark. It also seems likely that the members of each nation, such as the trio's from Kenya and Ethiopia, will work together to try and control the pace early on and put themselves in a strong position for the closing stages.
The likes of Tanui, Kamworor, and Hadis will look to put themselves a fair distance away from the Farah as the race heads towards the closing stages, as the Brit is certainly the strongest finisher in the field. However, whilst he is undoubtedly good at the closing stages, if some of the runners are able to open up a sizeable lead in the closing stages, he may struggle to get back on level terms.
Whilst there could potentially be a slight upset here, Farah has been in very solid form so far in 2017, and it is hard to see him losing in front of his home crowd and in his last ever major competition. In terms of the battle for the minor medal, the experience of the likes of Kamworor and Tanui could well help them see off the likes Hadis, Yimer, and Cheptegei.
Gold Medal: Mo Farah
Silver Medal: Geoffrey Kamworor
Bronze Medal: Paul Tanui