By Gene Cherry
EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) – British double Olympic champion Mo Farah made his last U.S. track race a special one, running the year’s fastest 5,000 meters at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting on Saturday.
Farah, who will be moving up to the marathon after August’s IAAF world championships in London, sprinted down the straight to defeat a high-quality field in 13 minutes, 00.70 seconds.
“Everybody was in that race and I used my experience to come away with a win,” said Farah. “It’s massive, and what a way to end my career in the U.S.
“This track is where we started in 2011,” said the crowd favorite who trains in nearby Portland.
“I remember it clear. I wasn’t the favorite, I was probably ranked sixth or seventh in the race and then I come with the British record, the European record and made my breakthrough year and ended up winning in London 2012.”
The 34-year-old, who plans to double in the 5,000 and 10,000 at the world championships, said the race also brought on a lot of pressure.
“There’s a lot of people doubting me, ‘Mo’s getting old,’” he said. “There was lots of talk, a lot of youngsters coming through talking a lot. I let my running do my talking. That’s what I’m good at.”
Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha finished second in 13:01.21 and Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworwor claimed third in 13:01.35.
Two-times Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor shared the spotlight, bounding 18.11 meters on the sun-splashed day, the third longest triple jump ever.
Only he and British world record holder Jonathan Edwards (18.29) have jumped farther and Taylor hopes to take down that mark in London.
Rio silver medalist Will Claye leaped a wind-aided 18.05 meters for second as he and Taylor dueled for top honors.
“I need the competition, I feed off of it,” said Taylor. “I’m happy that (Claye) stepped up and had a huge PB (personal best) and it pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and jump.”
The only Diamond League meeting in the U.S. produced five other 2017 leading performances.
Most surprising was Olympic bronze medalist Tori Bowie’s victory over a superb field in the women’s 200.
Powering down the straightaway, Bowie, also the Olympic 100 meters silver medalist, clocked 21.77 seconds, 0.14 faster than Rio 400 meters winner Shaunnae Miller-Uibo with Jamaican Olympic 200 meters champion Elaine Thompson running 21.98 for third.
Jamaican gold medalist Omar McLeod showed his form with 2017’s best 110 meters hurdles time of 13.01 seconds.
Other top marks for the year came in the mile where Kenya’s Ronald Kwemoi ran 3:49.04, Russia’s Maria Lasitskene leaped 2.03 meters in high jump and Olympic bronze medalist Ashley Spencer clocked 53.38 seconds in the women’s 400 meters hurdles.
Rio bronze medalist Sam Kendricks won a high quality pole vault at 5.86 meters with French world record holder Renaud Lavillenie second at 5.81.
Teenager Mondo Duplantis, who has the best jump in the world this year at 5.90, was fourth at 5.71 and Brazilian Olympic champion Thiago Braz no-heighted.
Up-and-coming U.S. sprinter Ronnie Baker won the 100 meters in a wind-aided 9.86 seconds with Olympic medalists Andre De Grasse fourth (9.96) and Justin Gatlin fifth (9.97).
(This story has been refiled to fix typo in 5th and 19th paragraphs)
(Reporting by Gene Cherry; Editing by Rex Gowar and Pritha Sarkar)