Saturday November 30, 2019
Mo Farah has confirmed he will switch his focus from marathons back to the track for next year’s Olympic Games. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Reuters
Two years after retiring from the track to run marathons, Mo Farah has performed a screeching U-turn and will defend his Olympic 10,000m title in Tokyo next summer.
The 36-year-old announced his decision after mulling over his disappointing 10th place at the Chicago marathon in October, although insiders have since revealed a niggle beforehand affected his performance.
Farah has convinced himself he will be more competitive back on the track – and watched the recent world championships 10,000m final in Doha believing he could have beaten the winner, Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda, whose final lap time of 56sec was considerably slower than the Briton’s last 400m when claiming world gold in 2017.
“I decided after Chicago, not straight away, but it was on my mind,” said Farah, who confirmed he would not attempt to double up in the 5,000m. “I was watching the world championship in Doha. I watched the 10,000m, and I watch other races, and part of you gets excited.
“You’re seeing people winning medals, for your country and stuff, and you ask yourself. It almost felt like I needed to be there. I still got a chance with the Olympics. Why would you turn it down?”
Farah, who won double gold over 5,000m and 10,000m at London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, added: “I hope I haven’t lost my speed but I’ll train hard for it and see what I can do.”
To qualify for the 10,000m in Tokyo, Farah will need to run 27min 28sec by 21 June. However he does not have to compete at the Night of the 10k PBs in Highgate in June, which doubles as the official British trial.
The qualifying standard should be a breeze for him, given it is nearly 45sec slower than his personal best. However, many in the sport would be surprised if Farah, who will be 37 when the Olympics come round, is able to recapture the staggering last-lap speed that made him an almost unbeatable winning machine between 2011 and 2017.
Farah leaves a mixed legacy at the marathon, having run a European record 2:05:11 in winning the Chicago marathon in 2018 and finished third in London the same year, only to disappoint at the same races this year.
“To win the Chicago marathon was nice, to finish third in London was OK, it was good,” he said. “But next year I’ve decided, Tokyo 2020, I’m going back on the track.”
The London marathon has confirmed Farah will not be runningnext April. However, he has left his options open to competing over 26.1 miles in the future.