Farah facing race against time to seal Tokyo spot

Great Britain's Sir Mo Farah and Marc Scott react as they crosses the finish line

Great Britain's Sir Mo Farah and Marc Scott react as they crosses the finish line in the men's International Race A at the 2021 Muller British Athletics 10,000m Championships and the European 10,000m Cup at University of Birmingham - Credit: PA

Sir Mo Farah faces a real race against the clock to claim his dream Tokyo Olympics spot.

The iconic 38-year-old Newham & Essex Beagle athletes and reigning Olympic champion was below par and carried an ongoing niggling ankle injury during the British 10,000m Championships and European 10,000 Cup eventat the University of Birmingham on Saturday.

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Farah finished some 22 seconds outside the recommended Tokyo 2020 qualifying mark, clocking 27:50.64 for an eighth-place finish.

He came behind Marc Scott who not only claimed the British title but more importantly booked his Team GB Olympic ticket to Tokyo after coming through in 27:49.94.

Although his time was also outside the barrier the 27-year-old Yorkshireman did register 27:10.41 during his victory at The Ten meet in San Juan Capistrano, California in February.

Great Britain's Sir Mo Farah reacts at the 2021 Muller British Athletics 10,000m Championships

Great Britain's Sir Mo Farah reacts after the men's International Race A at the 2021 Muller British Athletics 10,000m Championships and the European 10,000m Cup at University of Birmingham - Credit: PA


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The first three finishers, who incidentally will also feature in the Games, all achieved personal bests as France’s European champion Morhad Amdouni took victory in 27:23.29 ahead of Belgium’s Bashi Abdi (27:24.41) and Carlos Mayo from Spain (27:25.00). 

This was Farah's first 10,000m track appearance since winning the 2017 World Championships title at London Stadium in  Stratford.

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"It is what it is," he said. "The last ten days hasn’t been great but, no matter what I’ve achieved in my career, it was important that I come to the trials. It would have been easy not to show but I did show and I dug in deep. 

“With 15 laps to go I was hurting hard. I just had to keep fighting, keep digging in and finish in the top two.”

Farah's management team at PACE Sports Management, headed by former Irish athlete Ricky Simm, are now planning his next 10k races in an attempt to get the qualifying time which he must get by June 27.

And Farah is confident by that date he will get below 27:28 and be on the plane to Tokyo to successfully defend his prized Olympic title.

"What makes us great is being able to challenge yourself and prove it," he added. "So that is what you have got to do at the next stage.

"I am four-times Olympic champion but that doesn't mean nothing. You've got to go out there each race and mix it with the best and give yourself a chance.

"It will take courage and balls to be able to go out there and mix it with the guys.”

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