Moscow — IAAF World Championships marathon silver and bronze medalists Lelisa Desisa and Tadese Tola, respectively, admitted Stephen Kiprotich proved "too strong" for them to keep up with in the final minutes of the race on Saturday.
The Ugandan two-time gold medalist broke away from his closest challengers - the two Ethiopians - in the final 2km of a tense race to win his second major international athletics title in Moscow.
At a press conference after the event, the Ethiopian duo told journalists they had planned to stop Kiprotich, but that when he broke away and took the lead, their plan immediately backfired.
They admitted they could do little to catch up with the Ugandan runner who crossed the finish line at Luzhiniki Stadium on a time of 2:09:59.
"He was strong. Even if we chased, there was so little we could do to get him. He was fired up," said Tadese Tola, who finished third, and will be awarded with a bronze medal for his efforts at the crowning ceremony Sunday evening.
His fellow countryman, Lelisa Desisa said that they were confident and had planned a clean sweep, but could not stand Kiprotich's sprint.
"He proved to be better than us all. We sprinted and spoke to each other, planning for him but he was better," he said.
He added that Kiprotich's plan of running in a "zigzag" manner made them lose concentration as he interchanged positions and sides.
"At the end we had to let him go.
"Maybe that was his tactic and it helped him win. You could not concentrate on chasing him," he said.
Kiprotich revealed he only decided to move further on after seeing his counterparts Abraham Kiplimo and Jackson Kiprop fall far behind the pack around the 30km-mark.
"There was so little that I could do as I had to defend my country. Reaching the 40km-mark, I was very sure that I was going to win and that is when I decided to speed off to victory," he said.