Mo Farah has been given a last-ditch chance to reach the Tokyo Olympics in a hastily arranged invitational 10,000m race at the British Athletics’ Championships in Manchester on 25 June.
Farah, who won 5,000m and 10,000m gold at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games, struggled desperately at the UK trials in Birmingham last week where he finished more than 22 seconds outside the qualifying time of 27m 28:00sec.
It looked like time had finally caught up with the 38-year-old, whose loss was his first over 10,000m for nearly 10 years. But he said he had been impeded by a minor ankle niggle and promised that he would not only qualify for Tokyo but could recover in time to win another gold.
That appears an impossible task but given Farah’s stature in the sport, UK Athletics have agreed to put on an extra race in Manchester on the first day of the British Athletics Championships. To further aid his chances of making Tokyo, Farah will be provided with a team of pacemakers and an international field. Because he finished as the second British athlete home in Birmingham he will be selected if he runs the qualifying time.
“I am obviously disappointed with the result but it is what it is,” said Farah after his disappointing run in Birmingham. “Without making any excuses, the last 10 days haven’t been great as I’ve been carrying a niggle since I got back from training. But it won’t take me long in terms of my fitness.”
When asked whether he believed he could still win the Olympics which starts in five weeks’ time, Farah replied: “Yeah, I believe so. But It will take courage and balls to be able to go out there and mix it with the guys.”