Double Olympic champion Mo Farah saw Nicholas Kosimbei’s challenge as a small distraction, but reserved praise for William Sitonik as he shrugged off the Kenyans’ challenge in winning the Prefontaine Classic 10,000m race.
Farah moved up the gears at the homestretch to see off Sitonik’s spirited challenge against the 10,000m and 5,000m king.
“I don’t know what the Kenyan youngster was trying to do, but he tried pushing the pace and at times, dropping back, before surging forward again. At this level, however, I just have to focus on the job and not what any other person is trying to do,” Farah said.
However, Farah was full of praise for Sitonik (26:54.66), who kept the Englishman within check before stepping into the lead on the second last bend.
Sensing Sitonik’s game plan, Farah moved up a gear to stop the young Kenyan from any form of monkey business, thus coasting to a hard earned victory in 26:53.71. All the top five finishers ran a sub 27.
“It is exciting to see new talent try to stake their claim in a competition. Kenya has a way of bringing through new youngsters. I think the youngster, who came in second (Sitonik) is good,” Farah said.
Stephen Sambu, a University of Arizona alumni finished fourth in 26:58.25 behind Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola (26:57.33).
Kosimbei, who left Farah scratching his hairless head trying to understand his start-stop tactic, faded into seventh place in 27:02.59.
“I really wanted to have a go at this race. I miscalculated though and lacked the will to push more,” Kosimbei said.
“I just need to plan ahead and get to know how best to attack because I really wanted to do so today, but I made a mistake of pushing the pace too fast.”
Other Kenyans to finish the race were; Vincent Yator (27:25.94) in ninth, Leonard Barsoton (27:31.86) in 10th and James Mwangi (27:38, 97) in 13th places.
Emmanuel Bett was 18th in 27:53.05.