Sir Mo Farah FAILS to qualify for Tokyo Olympics after 38-year-old finishes 19 SECONDS outside qualifying time at British Athletics Championships in Manchester to leave dreams of defending his 10,000m title in tatters
- Sir Mo Farah failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics Games on Friday
- The 38-year-old was in last-chance saloon in qualifying for this summer’s Games
- Farah needed a time of 27 minutes and 28 seconds to qualify for Tokyo 2021
- He finished with a time of 27min 47sec – 19 seconds off what was needed
- Find out the latest Tokyo Olympic news including schedule, medal table and results right here
He couldn’t beat the clock and he couldn’t turn back time. For those reasons Sir Mo Farah will not be going to the Tokyo Olympics and with it one of the most successful careers in the recent history of British sport is just about done.
There might be lucrative runs on the roads, possibly even a farewell on a track somewhere, but his most meaningful races have all been run. Four Olympic gold medals, six world titles, from London to Rio, Daegu to Moscow – he had it good while it lasted.
But in the end, the truth of his 38 years was told quite brutally in this 10,000m trial in front of 1,000 people and some cardboard cut-outs at a little stadium in Manchester.
Sir Mo Farah’s Olympic dream is over after he failed to qualify for the Tokyo Games on Friday
He clocked 27:47.04 and it just wasn’t enough to beat the 27min, 28 secs qualifying time
He needed to hit a qualifying time of 27minutes and 28 seconds, and back in the day that would have been a jog. But it wasn’t to be on a chilly night here.
He clocked 27:47.04 and that was 19 seconds short. That’s three seconds better than he managed in his first attempt in Birmingham on June 5, which he chalked up to a ‘niggle’ in his left ankle, but it’s all academic. A second is as bad as an hour when it comes to missed planes.
When it was over, he was ‘gutted’. He added: ‘I don’t know what to think or what’s next for me. If I can’t compete with the best, why bother?’
It is a question he will mull over for a few days before making a decision on his future, but it is near enough certain he will not push on for another major championships.
There was hope that Farah could qualify but he only shaved three seconds off his prior time
That is despite rumours from within his altitude base in Font Romeu that he was in shape to not only make the most of this second qualifying chance but also to threaten the medals in Tokyo.
Alas, it all fell apart at the Manchester Regional Arena, owing partially to the cold temperatures and some questionable pace-making, but mainly, it would seem, because he just did not have the speed in his legs anymore.
It was not for a lack of expense or favours. In regard of the latter, he was helped out by UK Athletics shoe-horning this invitational race into their British Championships after his failure to make the time in Birmingham.
In terms of other manoeuvres, Farah also spared little expense in paying for three pace-makers, including his training partner Bashir Abdi, a European silver medallist in his own right.
Farah was spurred on by the Manchester crowd but didn’t have enough in the tank at the end
Farah started the 10,000m race well but as others dropped off, so did his pace
Farah’s medal cabinet
4x Olympic golds
6x World Championship golds
2x World Championship silvers
1x World Half Marathon bronze
5x European Championship golds
1x European Championship silver
2x European Indoor Championship golds
All of that, combined with his recovery from the ankle injury, meant Farah was convinced by the morning of the race that he could get the job done, but by the night the weather was ominously cold and breezy.
When the gun sounded at 9.35pm it was only 12 degrees and falling fast, which is less than ideal in a race against the clock.
After four laps he was two seconds outside where he needed to be, after eight he was even, but after 15 he was a second out again, with only Abdi of his hired guns left at his side.
With nine laps to go, Abdi was done and that was both unplanned and decisive, as it left Farah facing the huge task of pacing himself home.
He was soon five seconds outside the time and by the final two laps he had only a minute and 55 seconds to cover the ground. He came up a long way short.
If he does now call it quits, Farah will leave with a legacy of immense success and also those long-standing questions over his relationship with his former coach, the banned American Alberto Salazar. He was always able to deliver under that scrutiny, but ageing legs have a habit of being an unbeatable opponent.
‘I’ve had some decent sessions since my little niggle but I thought I should be able to run that time tonight,’ he said. ‘I’ve always said if I can’t compete with the best I’m not just going to go there to make the team.
One of the most successful careers in the recent history of British sport is just about done
‘I’ve had an amazing career, and I have been lucky enough to have so many medals, so I need to think about my next step.’
Earlier, Dina Asher-Smith strolled through the formalities of her 100m heat. The 200m world champion won comfortably in 11.28sec ahead of the semi-finals and finals on Saturday. Matthew Hudson-Smith failed to finish his 400m heat in the biggest casualty of the day.
Meanwhile, UKA CEO Joanna Coates defended the under-fire governing body’s decision to stream the championships on their website, having swerved a red-button arrangement with the BBC on the grounds that the broadcaster was not willing to cover production costs.
Coates said: ‘We think that’s a better way to showcase the sport than it being hidden on the red button, and us having to pay for it to be on red button.’
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