British legend Mo Farah did the long-distance double, winning the 5,000m and 10,000m, at the 2012 London Olympics. He went on to repeat his heroics at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
After his 10,000m victory at the 2017 World Championships, Mo Farah announced his decision to leave the track to focus on the marathon. But in late 2019, after a two-year romance with the roads, Mo revealed plans to defend his 10,000m title in Tokyo at his fourth Olympics.
Earlier this month, running at the European 10,000m Cup, his first 10,000m track race since the 2017 World Championships, Mo Farah finished eighth in 27:50.64, a whopping 22 seconds off the Olympic qualifying time of 27:28.00.
Farah suffered an ankle injury before the Birmingham meet which may have hampered his race.
And when fans thought that the legendary athlete’s hopes of participating in Tokyo had all but ended – what with the June 27 deadline fast approaching -- he has been handed a lifeline.
The hastily arranged 10,000m invitational race at the British Athletics Championships in Manchester, being held from June 25-27, will feature a world-class field and multiple pacesetters, all to help Mo Farah realize his dream.
Injury concerns for Mo Farah
However, there are concerns that need to be addressed. First, the extent of the ankle injury and the recovery period will be playing on Mo Farah’s mind. The second was that the Birmingham race was his slowest 10,000m since 2014 and Mo Farah will have to find a way to get his lost mojo back to defend his Olympic gold.
While recovering in time seems to be an uphill task for Mo Farah, his legendary status puts him on a pedestal to achieve the impossible. After the Birmingham race, the 38-year-old promised not just to recover in time to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics but also defend his 10,000m gold for the third time in a row.
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UK Athletics have also been doing their bit to help Farah. After adding the invitational 10,000m race on the first day of the British Athletics’ Championships to help Mo Farah qualify, the runner will also be assisted with pacemakers and an international field.
All Mo Farah has to worry about in Manchester is the Tokyo Olympics qualifying time. If he achieves that, he would seal an Olympic berth as the second British runner. Mo Farah was beaten in Birmingham by fellow Briton Marc Scott, who finished well within cut-off time.
Back to where he belongs
Mo Farah's decision to come out of retirement and run the 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympics was probably fueled by the fact that he finished eighth in the Chicago Marathon. He would’ve felt that he had the fire inside him to make one last statement by defending his 10,000m crown.
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While a fifth Olympic gold medal will be a perfect swansong for Mo Farah, the sprinter has to first beat the odds by winning the Manchester race despite an ankle problem.