By Neil Maidment
LONDON Aug 8 (Reuters) - Britain's 10,000 metres Olympic champion Mo Farah found out on Wednesday 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." (Editing by Ed Osmond)