Mo Farah pays tribute to Ali in style

"My sympathy goes to his family, he was a great man. He was a real influence on me as I wrote in my biography, I looked up to him."

June 05, 2016 11:23 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:02 pm IST - Birmingham

British athletics great Mo Farah paid a handsome tribute to the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali on Sunday as he broke David Moorcroft's 34-year-old British 3000 metres record at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting.

The 33-year-old two-time Olympic champion and quintuple world champion struck a boxing pose as he celebrated his win at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting paying his respects to Ali, who died of septic shock aged 74 on Friday.

“It was a tribute definitely to Muhammad Ali,” said Farah, who last year withdrew from the meeting because he felt drained by the coverage of the doping allegations against his coach Alberto Salazar, who denies all wrongdoing.

“My sympathy goes to his family, he was a great man. He was a real influence on me as I wrote in my biography, I looked up to him.”

The meet had been interrupted earlier for a minute's applause to honour Ali, a former heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medallist.

Farah, who timed 7min 32.62sec to take a 10th of a second off Moorcroft's record, added he wanted to go and make history at the Olympics in August by defending his 5,000 and 10,000m titles.

“I'm in great shape. I've just got to believe in myself,” said the Somalia-born athlete.

“I want to make history in Rio. It's never been done before and I know I'm going to have to dig deep.”

A couple of other Olympic gold medallists from London suffered different fortunes.

Sublime Kenyan 800m champion David Rudisha won a thrilling 600m whilst Britain's Greg Rutherford suffered his first defeat in the long jump since July 2015 -- Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin winning.

Rudisha was pushed really hard in the rarely-run 600m by Frenchman Pierre-Ambroise Bosse but repelled him in the dying metres to win in 1min 13.10sec, just outside the world record of 1:12.81 set by Johnny Gray in 1986.

“I had my eye on the world record, but I lost it in the last 100m,” said Rudisha.

“However, this is great preparation for my Olympic bid as running over this distance sharpens my speed.”

His compatriot Asbel Kiprop coasted home in the men's 1500m, the 26-year-old 2008 Olympic champion and three-time world champion recording the fastest time ever run in Britain and the best in the world this term of 3min 29.33sec.

Kendra Harrison left a top notch 100m hurdlles field in her wake as the American -- who had run a stunning 12.24 last weekend in the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meet, the fastest time in 28 years -- timed 12.46sec.

Australia's defending Olympic champion Sally Pearson was never at the races in what was her first competitive race in over a year, fading to finish second last.

“I'm not disappointed, obviously not nice to run over 13sec but this is my first race in over a year,” said Pearson, who broke two bones and dislocated her wrist at a Rome Diamond League meeting in June last year.

“This is the first of many races for me in the next few weeks and I want to give it my best in defending my title in Rio.”

There were to be rare reverses for two female giants of the field events.

New Zealand's two-time shot put Olympic champion Valerie Adams had to make do with second behind the United States' Tia Brooks.

Caterine Ibarguen's extraordinary run of 34 straight victories over four years came to an end in the triple jump.

The Colombian two-time world champion lost out to Kazakhstan's Olympic titleholder Olga Rypakova, who reserved her best hop, skip and jump for her last effort, posting a mark of 14.61 metres.

Kim Collins continues to defy the years as the 40-year-old 2003 world champion edged American Michael Rodgers and Briton CJ Ujah in an exciting 100m, timing 10.11sec.

“As you get older you have to be wiser and taking care of the body is a little bit more tricky,” said Collins.

The women's 100 went to the United States' English Gardner, who made the most of world silver medallist Dafne Schippers's poor start which left the Dutch girl fuming.

“I had a really bad race, what can I say? A very poor start and then I was chasing the leader,” said the 23-year-old Dutchwoman, who won world 200m gold last year but finished second to Gardner. © AFP, 2016

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