London Anniversary Games: Mo Farah, Dafne Schippers win their last races ahead of Rio Olympics
A pair of heavy favourites for the gold medal at next month’s Rio Olympics lived up to the promise as Mo Farah and Dafne Schippers raced to glory in the men’s 5000m and the women’s 200m events at the London Anniversary Games on Saturday. Both sent out strong signals to other contenders that they are in great shape and ready to take on the world.
For the British 2012 Olympic champion Farah, who grew up in London, it was an emotional return to the stadium where he has had some of the most memorable moments of his career four years back. With just a few days to go for the defense of his title, Farah simply blazed through the field, winning comfortably in 12.59.29 to establish the fastest time of the year.
It was one of the most dominant shows from the 5000m and 10000m gold medallist whose rivals were simply left trailing in his wake. The second-placed Andrew Butchart of Britain and the third-placed Bernard Lagat of the USA could only muster 13.14.85 and 13.14.96 respectively.
“I just wanted to go for it. It was my last chance to run quick before Rio. This track has so much meaning for me and I got amazing support from the crowd,” the 33-year-old said.
Schippers on track for Rio gold
For Schippers, it was yet another comfortable 200m race where she cruised to victory in 22.13 seconds. The Dutchwoman became a sensation since she made the transition to sprints from heptathlon just a couple of years back. Last year, she captured the 200m gold at the Beijing World Championships and had to be content with the silver medal in the 100m.
This year, the 24-year-old has already posted the world-leading time of 21.93 in 200m at the Oslo Diamond League in June. Even though her timing on Saturday evening in London was not near to it, Schippers is nevertheless a strong favourite for the Rio gold. And she has herself admitted that she does not feel nervous with so much weight on her shoulders and that should stand her in good stead at the Games.
“I’m comfortable with being tagged as the favourite (in Rio), I’m never nervous, which is good for me.”