Sir Mo Farah threatens to MISS next month’s Tokyo Olympics after failing qualifying time and finishing EIGHTH at British 10,000m Championships in Birmingham
- Sir Mo Farah missed the chance to reserve his spot at the Tokyo Olympics
- The four-time Olympic champion finished eighth in the 10,000m in British trials
- Farah now faces a race against time to achieve the Olympic qualifying time
- He finished behind Briton Marc Scott and 22 seconds outside the Olympic standard
- The 38-year-old said it was the first time he’d walked the track in two weeks
- Read the latest Olympic news in Tokyo including schedule, medal table and results here.
On the grounds of the University of Birmingham, Sir Mo Farah learned a great lesson on Saturday night. It seems that even sporting knights are not immune to dubious ankles and the perils of the time.
The question is whether his hard and surprising defeat at the British 10,000m trials will wipe out his chances of being in the Tokyo Olympics, or just serve as an uneasy bump in the pursuit of a fifth gold medal this summer. Right now, only an incurable optimist would side with the latter.
That’s because the four-time Olympic gold medalist not only missed the qualifying time of 27 minutes 28 seconds; he was more than a straight of the track out there at 27:50. He wasn’t even the first Briton to come home in a race that doubled as the European Distance Cup, with seven other men ahead, including Farah’s Team GB team-mate Marc Scott.
Sir Mo Farah could miss the Tokyo Olympics after failing to meet the qualifying standard
The four-time Olympic champion now faces a race against time to reach the qualifying time
It was Scott who teased earlier this week that Farah had lost his aura at the age of 38, and in real money the aging champion has just three weeks to prove him wrong. If he doesn’t make it to the finish line at the end of the game on June 27, he won’t go to Japan, and with that, his remarkable career would have come to the most understated conclusion. He is known for his late kicks, but this is the pushing.
The challenge is compounded by an injury to his left ankle, which Farah revealed in the wake of his first long-distance defeat since 2011, a period in which he completely and completely dominated his sport. If that ‘little glitch’ can be fixed, he has a chance, but combined with his age and the fact that this was his first 10,000m race since 2017, it feels like a really big question. That’s before you even consider the logistics of finding compliant races in the Covid era. He could appear this weekend at a meeting in Leiden, the Netherlands.
“Of course I’m disappointed with the result, but it is what it is,” said Farah. “Without making any apologies, the last 10 days haven’t been great since I came back from practice (in Flagstaff, Arizona), but it was important that I get out on the trials and show off the trials. Of course it would have been a lot easier not to show, but at the same time I did show and I dug deep into it.
“With 15 laps to go I was in a lot of pain. I just had to keep fighting, keep digging. I really thought I had time with five laps to go.”
The 38-year-old finished eighth in the 10,000m, behind compatriot Marc Scott
Speaking about the injury, he added: “I’ve had a little problem since I came back from training. It’s frustrating because I did a lot of good work in Flagstaff, the training went well. If you had asked me two weeks ago, it would have been very different. It is what it is, it’s part of the sport.
“Honestly, this is the first piece I’ve done at the track in the last two weeks. It’s not ideal.
“I’m a four-time Olympic champion, but that doesn’t mean anything. You have to go out every race and mix it up with the best and give yourself a chance.”
Farah was never there. Halfway through the opening lap he moved forward, with a double mission to make the qualifying time and finish among the top two Britons. But from there things went wrong. He was passed by Scott on the straight and clocked his worst time since 2014. Scott is booked safely for Japan; Farah clings to a thread.
Farah wants to defend his title in the 10,000 meters at the Olympics, but can now completely miss it
Eilish McColgan won the British women’s 10k title and qualified with Jessica Judd for Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce sent a thumping warning from Jamaica to Dina Asher-Smith with a stunning performance in the 100m that took her to second place in the all-time world rankings.
The Jamaican, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the distance and the reigning world champion, clocked a remarkable 10.63 seconds on a calm encounter in Kingston.
Only the late American Florence Griffith-Joyner has ever run faster, with her controversial world record of 10.49 seconds since 1988 considered untouchable.
Fraser-Pryce’s time will draw worldwide attention in the run-up to the Olympics, not least from Asher-Smith, who comfortably beat her in Gateshead last month. Fraser-Pryce’s achievements have sparked whispers within the sport about whether spike technology now has the same impact on sprints as it does at longer distances.
The Brit said it was the first ‘piece I’ve done on track in two weeks’ and thought he had time