Mo Farah has been given one last shot at qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a special 10,000m race at the British Athletics Championships in Manchester on 25 June.
Britain’s four-time Olympic champion failed to set the required time at the British 10,000m Championships and European 10,000m Cup in Birmingham on 5 June, leaving his chances of achieving a fifth Games medal hanging by a thread.
Farah finished eighth in that race in 27:50.64 - some way short of the 27:28.00 he needed - but said afterwards that he had been hampered by an ankle injury, despite telling Eurosport in the days leading up to the event that he was in “decent” shape.
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According to British Athletics, he has now recovered from the issue that was affecting him and a team of pacemakers is being assembled to help him run inside the required time. Should he get to Japan, Farah will be aiming to become the first athlete to win the track 10k in three successive Games. He had hinted a last chance was coming, after
The invitational 10,000m was not originally on the event schedule for the three-day Olympic trials, but it will now form the centre-piece of the national championships. Crowds will be in attendance in Manchester in an attempt to roar Team GB’s distance legend to reach Tokyo - in what would be his final Olympic appearance.
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Despite the late addition to the timetable, Friday night 10,000m races do have a rich tradition in what was formerly known as the AAA Championships.
Dave Bedford set a world record in Crystal Palace in 1973, while Brendan Foster ran even faster - though not achieving a new record - at the same event in 1978. 11 years ago, Meseret Defar also became the fifth woman at the time to break the 30-minute barrier in Birmingham.
This is it for Farah - one last shot at signing off a stunning career in style. He has nothing to prove, the four-time Olympic champion is arguably Britain's greatest ever distance runner (traditionalists may dispute that), but he is determined to end his track efforts at an Olympic Games.
Speaking to Eurosport in the build-up to that disappointing race, he said he wanted one last gold to engrave for his wife - having done the same for each of his four children.
This race did not exist in the Olympic trial schedule, but if anyone deserves special treatment, few can argue against Farah being given this chance. We do not know the extent of the ankle injury which was troubling him in Birmingham, but in the limited races we had seen him in over the past year, there were no obvious signs that he was getting slower.
Fans around the world will be desperate to see that infamous final straight kick one more time in Japan - let's hope he makes the most of this opportunity.
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