Determination and confidence clearly described how Kenyan men pulled a fast one on Britain’s track assassin Mo Farah at the 21st IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, South Wales, here on Saturday evening.
Geoffrey Kamworor, a police officer, summoned enough courage to orchestrate a 1-2 finish for Kenya and, at best, snatch the overall team title from Eritrea, who won in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2014.
At the finish line, the 23-year-old Kamworor confirmed they had prepared well enough to stop Mo Farah’s aggression.
“We had prepared for this event well and were never afraid of Mo Farah.
“I really wanted to beat him and retain my title as well as improve on my time. But I fell down as the race started. Something came into mind –don’t look aside; stay focused and win the big race. And I am happy that I did it despite the heavy rains, which made it difficult to set new times,” he said after race.
He seems to consider Briton author Charles Caleb Colton’s counsel:
“The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is the one elicited from the darkest storm.”
Kamworor has set another fierce battle with Mo Farah at the Olympic Games.
“We decided to keep a high pace to test his powerful kicks and it worked out well.
“Road running and track tactics are different. From tomorrow, I will settle on training for Olympics 10,000m and hopefully, make Team Kenya to the Olympics. The win here is a good motivation ahead of the Olympics,” said Kamworor.
Karoki, the world cross country silver medalist, said he too longs to make the Kenyan team to the Olympics.
“I want to have my last track race at the Olympics and I hope to qualify. I want to step up to marathon. I was sure that we could beat Mo Farah,” said Karoki.
PACE TOO HIGH
Mo Farah, incidentally, said: “I found the pace too high from the beginning of the race. These guys were running too fast and at four miles into the race, Karoki had pushed the pace too hard and he kept on pushing. That’s why we could make a sub 59.
“All I am sure is that Geoffrey (Kamworor) can break the world record. I saw him fall down and he unbelievably reacted swiftly and I had to fight for bronze. I now prepare to defend my titles in Brazil,” said Mo Farah, the double Olympic champion.
The women’s team retained the individual and overall team titles too, but could not beat the 1-5 sweep they staged in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2014.
Peris Jepchirchir, the 2015 Prague 10km winner, enthralled fans at the finish line in Cardiff Civic Centre.
“I am happy for the win. When we reached the hour mark, I decided to break away,” said Chepchirchir.