- Usain Bolt, Ezekiel Kemboi and Mo Farah all went to London with one aim, to run for the last time
- But they all flopped in a way that shocked the world, with Farah crowning his defeat with a loud cry
Someone said pride comes before a fall, and another shouted from the other side of the pitch to whoever cared to listen that don’t count your chicks before they hatch.
These two proverbs came alive at the recent World Athletics Championships in London when at least three giants fell with a thud.
By now if you are a keen follower of athletics, you have a clue of what I am talking about and who these goliaths are.
You see, Usain Bolt, Ezekiel Kemboi and Mo Farah all went to London with one aim, to run in their respective races for the last time and retire with bang, of course, after winning.
But as karma had it, they all flopped in a way that shocked the world, with Farah crowning his defeat with a loud cry.
Let me start with Mr Bolt, who had placed a 'multi-bet' by wishing to retire from both 100m and the 4 by 100m relay races in dignity and with great style.
One of the greatest no doubt, Bolt planned to clinch the 100m title in the race he faced great competition from America’s Justin Gatlin, the winner.
He had a well-laid out plan, which was, train harder, announce to the world he would retire, hit the track, win and hold mother of all bashes and bask in glory.
The event organiser had even bought this script if their complaint of Gatlin, who had been banned twice because of doping, is anything to go by.
The script went well until the bell rang to signal the start of the race and then he had a false beginning, which earned him a third position, according to his explanation. The crowd booed Gatlin, but that did not change the fact that he dismantled Bolt’s retirement fairy tale.
Then came the 4 by 100m relay from which Bolt once again wished to run for the last time and retire in glory. His two compatriots performed well and Bolt was supposed to cap the glory by winning the race but karma did not allow it.
He was attacked by a muscle cramp ending the race prematurely, full of regrets and heartache. The interesting bit about it is that as Bolt, who is 31, retires, citing numerous injuries, among other reasons, Gatlin, the new 'kid' on the block, is 35 and has no plans or retiring soon! He insists he is still going on strong.
On the other hand, Farah was to run the 5,000m race at the World Athletics Championships for the last time and retire with a big ego after winning.
However, the 34-year-old managed a silver for the first time in seven years in the race that he has dominated. At a press conference, Farah, who has won four Olympic gold medals and six World Championship golds, was reduced to tears as he blamed the media for trying to destroy his reputation. He has switched to marathon.
Closer home, four-time world champion Kemboi was set to retire from the 3,000 metres steeplechase after hopefully winning. Kemboi, 35, who had reneged on his earlier promises to retire, had vowed to run for the last time, get a gold medal, retire and remain happy ever after. He finished eleventh!
“You will never see me run the race again,” said Kemboi, should I add bitterly, as he switched to marathon.
‘For the Love of the Game’ wishes the three athletes well in their new careers off the track, but one lesson the others should learn is that before they announce retirement, they should first win. As they say, don’t make clothes before a baby is born.