Farah qualifies for Olympic 5000m final

Britain's 10,000 metres Olympic champion Mo Farah found out that victory also makes you a target for your rivals, describing his successful qualifying 5,000m heat as like being in a boxing ring.


"I'm definitely a target. I am the Olympic champion at 10,000 metres so obviously everybody has eyes on me," Farah told reporters on Wednesday after finishing third in his heat to book a place in Saturday's 5,000 final.

"It was really rough, it was like being in the ring with (British boxer) Anthony Ogogo! I'm the smallest, why are they picking on me?!"

Farah, looking slightly jaded still from Saturday's captivating 10,000m triumph, had several stumbles as his long legs made contact with competitors closing up around him in a disjointed and slow heat.

"There was a lot of pushing and shoving so it's just a matter of staying out of trouble," the 29-year-old said.

"I'm definitely tired and I think it definitely showed out there. It wasn't easy but I managed to qualify and I am looking forward to the final. I've got a couple days rest."

Farah's main challengers on Saturday are likely to be Ethiopian youngsters Dejen Gebremeskel - Wednesday's fastest qualifier and this year's world leader with a time of 12:46:81 - and Hagos Gebrhiwet.

Kenya's Isiah Kiplangat Koech, American veteran Bernard Lagat and Farah's training partner Galen Rupp also qualified.

Farah's 10,000m victory was one of the defining moments of the London Games, 25 laps of the track amid deafening cheers on the way to becoming Britain's first 10,000m Olympic champion and the first man to win the event on home soil.

World and double European champion over the shorter distance, Farah said he felt no pressure to become the first British Olympic 5,000 gold medallist.

"I'm not putting any pressure on myself," he said. "It's amazing to have the crowd and in a way I want to do well because of the crowd and the support because it drives you further but whatever I do, I will give 100 percent and that's all you can do."

There was no sign of nerves as Australia's Olympic champion Steve Hooker qualified for the men's pole vault final.

Hooker has been suffering a crisis of confidence this season likened to the 'yips' experienced by golfers and only made the Games after his sponsors put on a special pole vault event.

But the 30-year-old, with his hair tied back in a ponytail, showed no emotion as he sailed over his opening height of 5.50 metres in the Olympic Stadium.

That was enough for Hooker, who has a best of 6.06 indoors, to finish tied for ninth and secure a place in Friday's final.

"I got in a great opener. It was good to get that done and out of the way," Hooker told reporters.

"I did enough to put me through to the final, although it's going to be a strong field.

"There's still a bit to do but I'm here to see what happens. My training has been good, my body feels fantastic."

Lynsey Sharp insists she has justified her controversial selection in Great Britain’s London 2012 squad after she qualified for the women’s 800m semi-final with ease.

Sharp began her debut Olympic campaign in fine form as she finished second in her qualifying heat with a time of 2:01.43 minutes, behind defending champion Pamela Jelimo of Kenya.

And Sharp, who was chosen to represent Team GB ahead of four women with faster times, maintains she will continue to let her performances speak for themselves.

“I have tried to block it out, but the media haven't helped. Thanks to my coach, he has prepared me so well,” said the 22-year-old.

"I have grown as an athlete in the last year. Today is a confidence boost, I have shown that my selection is warranted.

"I performed well and gave it my all, my goal is to achieve a personal best and get to the final.”

Sharp, who emerged from relative anonymity to win the Olympic trials in Birmingham, will line up in tomorrow night’s semi-final looking to book her place in Saturday’s final.

And the European Championship silver medallist is hoping to use the continued support of the home crowd as she chases her own medal.

"I came to watch a couple of nights ago, but nothing can compare to when you are out on the track. I had ringing in my ears because the crowd was so loud,” she added.

Sarah Attar became the first female track and field athlete to represent Saudi Arabia at an Olympics when she competed in the women's 800m heats.

The 19-year-old, who wore a white head cover, a long sleeved green top and black leggings and sported luminous green running spikes, received a generous ovation from a capacity-crowd at the Olympic stadium as she trailed in last of the eight runners.

"It's an incredible experience," said Attar, who has dual United States citizenship and is a student at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles.

Attar, who clocked two minutes 44.95 seconds - over 43 seconds behind heat winner Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei of Kenya, is the second Saudi woman to compete at the Games following judoka Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani.

The International Olympic Committee had extended a special invitation to Shaherkani and Attar after it pressed Saudi Arabia to end its ban on female participation.

Some conservative Saudis had criticised their countrywomen's participation in London after Saudi Arabia broke with its practice of sending male-only teams to the world's biggest sports event.

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