Tokyo 2020 - ‘When I’m on the track, I smile more’ - Mo Farah ahead of Olympic 10,000m qualifier
The four-time Olympic gold medallist is bidding to become the first athlete to win the 10,000m in three straight Games, but first he needs to qualify at this weekend’s European 10,000m Cup in Birmingham. Farah has told Eurosport he feels at home on the track after moving back from marathon running, and that he smiles more on the rubber.
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Britain’s four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah says he feels happier on the track as he prepares to qualify for Tokyo 2020.
Having won double distance gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016, he is targeting just the 10,000m in Japan having dedicated most of his racing to the road - and specifically the marathon - since Brazil five years ago.
Farah announced in late 2019 that he was moving back to the track and made an emphatic return last year when he broke the one-hour record in September. Now, he’s attempting to become the first athlete to win the 10,000m in three straight Olympic Games.
“When I’m on the track. I smile more, you’ll see me enjoying myself a bit more, and often it gets me excited,” he told Eurosport.
“That’s not to say the marathon didn’t, but it’s a different pain - and that’s what I said to myself...one more. Just one more race, one more Olympics, see if I can make history and make the nation proud.”
Farah says he is in “decent shape” ahead of Saturday's European 10,000m Cup in Birmingham, but he has not raced over the distance since winning gold at the World Championships in London in 2017. He insists he had no interest in trying to do the double again.
I think the first step is just to get qualifying out of the way. Once that’s done, I’ll see what I can do. I know it won’t be easy, I’ll be racing against some good athletes including my training partner Bashir Abdi who’s a decent athlete.
“When it comes to the Games, I’m honestly not thinking that far ahead. Joshua Cheptegei is a great athlete, he’s shown what he can do and you can see it from his results.
“You’ve got Mo Ahmed from Canada, you’ve got myself, there’s loads of athletes - we’ve not even mentioned the Ethiopian guys. In terms of the field, it’s going to be stacked in Tokyo.”
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Farah says Tokyo will be his last big event on the track and is not tempted by Paris 2024, when he would be 41, but he says the job is not finished yet.
“It would be incredible, for me family and kids are the most important things in life,” he said.
I’ve engraved my kids’ names on each of my medals, so the only person who’s missing is my wife. That gives me even more to go for it.
“Could you imagine if I gave her a bronze?! She’d be like...what?! I want it more than ever, going out there to represent your country is always beautiful but to be on the podium...even better.”
Farah is coy when he talks about the specifics of what he will do when he does step away from the track, but says he wants to give something back to the “community” and help young children achieve similar goals to what he did - but he cannot wait to spend more time with his family.
I miss my kids, I’ve got four beautiful kids and I spent six months of the year away training, I’m looking forward to helping them out with sport and school and getting involved, a bit more parenting, giving my wife a rest!
Farah was speaking on behalf of Oral B and the impact oral hygiene has on overall body health.