BRITISH distance great Mo Farah sprinted clear to win the 3000m at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting in his final track meeting on home soil.
The 34-year-old, who is switching to road racing in 2018, came home in seven minutes 38.64 seconds.
“This is it. All I dreamed of as a youngster was running for Britain,” said the double Olympic champion.
Elsewhere, Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith came fifth in a 100m race won by Olympic champion Elaine Thompson.
Farah took his sixth World Championship gold in London earlier this month – to go with two silvers – and also has four Olympic titles.
Neither his narrow failure to complete another 5,000m and 10,000m world title double in London nor the leak of an interim report from an anti-doping investigation into his American coach Alberto Salazar had dampened the Birmingham crowd’s enthusiasm for this send-off.
Farah – who has won more world-level track gold medals than any other British athlete in history – was roared to victory by a raucous crowd, who had to be reminded to save their cheers as the athletes prepared for the gun.
He said on Friday that his UK track farewell would be more “celebratory” than the frenzied and, at times, physical contests from which he took 10,000m gold and 5,000m silver in London and so it proved.
Adel Mechaal, who finished just off a podium place in the world 1500m final 10 days ago, pushed to overtake Farah down the back straight in Birmingham. But just as at the Diamond League meeting in London earlier this year, the Spaniard was left trailing by Farah’s formidable kick for home.
The Briton’s time was well short of the 7:32.76 he clocked at the same event last year to break Dave Moorcroft’s national record.
Farah for Tokyo 2020?
After a lap of honour in the rain, Farah denied newspaper reports that he had split with coach Barry Fudge, who has overseen his training programme since he distanced himself from Salazar.
“Where did you get that from? Barry is still my right-hand man,” he said when asked about his relationship with British Athletics’ head of endurance.
Farah went on to add there was a slim chance that he might yet represent Britain at Tokyo 2020.
“If I’m the best in the marathon and can compete… it depends,” he said. “I think it is going to take at least two or three marathons to get it right to learn from it. It is not easy.”
Farah will race for the final time on the track at the Zurich Diamond League meeting on Thursday, 24 August and finish his season at September’s Great North Run.
Jamaica’s Thompson back on form
After an underwhelming fifth place at the recent World Championships, Jamaica’s Olympic champion Thompson returned to form as she vanquished a high-quality field with 100m victory in 10.93 seconds.
Britain’s Asher-Smith, who came within 0.07 seconds of a medal in the 200m in London, finished ahead of the Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers – the 200m world champion.
That scalp, combined with a season’s best of 11.13 in the heats, will add to a sense of what might have been for the 21-year-old British record holder, whose 2017 was disrupted a broken foot suffered in February.
Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who won 100m and 200m silver in London, finished in a familiar second with a time of 10.97.
In the men’s 200m, surprise world champion Ramil Guliyev took victory ahead of American Ameer Webb, with Botswana’s Isaac Makwala fourth and Britain’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake back in fifth.
Elsewhere, Kyle Langford finished sixth in the 800m behind winner Nijel Amos, world silver medallist Adam Kszczot and British rival Elliot Giles, while world high jump champion Mutaz Essa Barshim set a new meeting record and world lead with a winning jump of 2.40m.