Tokyo or bust for Newham Beagles and Olympic hero Sir Mo Farah
- Credit: PA
This Friday night in Manchester is simply Tokyo or bust for Sir Mo Farah.
The legendary Newham & Essex Beagles athlete must get well inside the 27:28 qualifying mark to guarantee his plane ticket to Tokyo for the chance to defend the Olympic 10,000m title he won at London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Farah clocked 27:50.64 but was 22 seconds off the mark at Müller British 10,000m Championships and European 10,000m Cup last month at the University of Birmingham.
He finished second behind 27-year-old Yorkshireman Marc Scott who, although his winning time of 27:49.94 was also outside the barrier, did clock 27:10.41 during victory in February in San Juan Capistrano, California, USA.
Unfortunately a minor ankle injury hampered Farah's challenge that night in the Second City but he gets a last-gasp crack in a specially arranged invitational race at the Müller British Athletics Championships at an already sold-out Manchester Regional Arena.
A strong international field along with domestic hopefuls and pacemakers is being assembled to help him achieve the target.
After winning Olympic 10,000m gold in London in 2012 and Rio in 2016, the 38-year-old is gunning for a hat-trick of titles at the distance in Tokyo.
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In total, Farah has won 10 global track titles in the past decade.
The domestic 10,000m event on Friday nights has a long and rich history.
Iconic Hendon runner Dave Bedford set a world record of 27:30.8 at now-defunct AAA Championships at Crystal Palace in 1973 and three years later Brendan Foster claimed the mantle after clocking 27:30.3 at the South London venue.
Ethiopian woman Meseret Defar, competing as a guest, broke the 30-minute barrier at the 2009 Kodak AAA Championships at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham.
Farah's Beagles colleagues Asha Philip, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Rabah Yousif are just the pick of the names also in contention for a Tokyo spot in Manchester over the weekend.