TWO of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen will be racing for the final time over the next couple of days.
Mo Farah will, like Usain Bolt, bring the curtain down on his illustrious track career at the world championships with the ambition of double golden finish.
The 34-year-old Somalia-born Briton – who will switch his focus to road running – can capture his 10th successive world or Olympic title in the 10,000 metres later on today (Friday).
He then hopes to bow out in style on the track in London where he achieved his first Olympic double in 2012 with the 5000m on Saturday week and will bring to an end a six-year period where, like Bolt in the shorter distances, Farah has dominated the field.
He broke up the previous dominance of the Kenyans and Ethiopians, lifting his own achievements well above those of legends such as Paavo Nurmi, Lasse Viren, Emil Zatopek, Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele.
However as many people are asking how athletics will be able to cope without Bolt and his engaging showmanship, perhaps unfairly the same has not been said about the vacuum that Farah will leave in his wake.
Despite his achievements – Olympic (2012/16) and world doubles (2013/15) at 5000m and 10000m – the British public have been left largely unmoved, and when the public have been given the chance to vote, only once, in 2011, has he reached the top three for the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year poll.
It’s even prompted British triathlon star Alistair Brownlee to decry the glaring omission for an athlete whose exploits were recognised by having a knighthood bestowed on him.
“It’s really sad, because for me he is the perfect British story,” Brownlee told The Guardian after Farah finished only fourth in the poll. “It’s what we should be about: a person who comes to Britain as a young man, as a refugee, and an ex-schoolteacher (Alan Watkinson) identifies something that he’s brilliant at and he represents Britain as the best in the world. I think that’s a fantastic British story.”