2011, a good year for Mo Farah

The bare facts say that Mo Farah won the 5000 metres world championship in 2011. The achievement is remarkable enough for the athlete, given that it is not his preferred distance. The circumstances in which he won the gold medal make it all the more impressive.

Farah had been confident about winning the 10,000 metre title in Daegu, South Korea, after double gold success in the 2010 European Championships. In the final he ran magnificently, and made his characteristic burst for home with 500 metres left. Then the plan went awry, as he was overhauled in the final straight by Ibrahim Jeilan of Ethiopia. Farah admitted afterwards that he knew nothing about the winner.

After that kind of disappointment it would have been understandable if Farah had gone away to brood on coming so close to a world title. Instead he harnessed his thoughts and ambitions and produced a startling run in the 5000 metres just seven days later.

In a tougher final, Farah proved he is among the best in the long-distance events, out-powering the great Bernard Lagat to win gold, and make the world championships a success story instead of a hard-luck story. His grin afterwards was the British highlight of an indifferent championships for the team.

Farah, a Somalian immigrant, has made steady but tangible improvements every season and is now among the elite of British athletics. His success is a testament to dedication, belief and resilience. It awaits the ultimate reward in 2012, in his adopted hometown, in the Olympic stadium.

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