Olympics tips: Mo Farah to defend titles after storming march on long-distance rivals
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | August 1, 2016
For five years now, Mo Farah has dominated men’s long-distance running in a similar vein to Jamaican sprinting counterpart Usain Bolt.
A golden path?
Having established himself prior to the last Olympics with a 5000m Gold at the 2011 World Athletic Championships, Farah has been scooping medals at every event he’s turned up to since.
Doubling up successfully over 5k and 10k at London 2012 (Olympics), and Moscow 2013 and Beijing 2015 (World Championships) either side of Zurich 2014 (European Championships), Farah has always risen to the occasion in recent times.
That once again proved to be the case when he set a 5000m world lead time of 12:59.29 at the London Anniversary Games. Farah literally blew a decent field out of the water, kicking on with five laps of the track (and 40 per cent of the race) still to go.
Nobody could live with the Team GB athlete’s pace, though not all of the African contingent came to race against him. Farah is Coral’s firm odds-on 1/4 favourite for both the 5k and 10k titles.
“Harder for me to defend an Olympics”
“It’s nice to be able to just be myself and run my own race,” Farah told the British press after his final race to prepare for the Olympics. “It was hard, but it was not a killer. I was satisfied with that one.”
Farah is keen to manage expectations placed upon him, which are understandably high given his long-distance dominance.
“Training is going well, but one thing you can’t forget is it’s harder for me to defend an Olympics,” Farah continued. “The rest of the guys have had four years of preparation so anything could happen.
“They haven’t managed it yet, but I’m going to have three Ethiopians, three Kenyans, three Ugandans. They’re going to try and do anything to beat me.”
Opposition not up to much
As Farah notes, none of the African contingent have found an answer to deny him at an Olympics or World Championships since Ibrahim Jeilan of Ethiopia took Gold over 10000m in Daegu five years ago.
Settling for second place was no shame back then, but would certainly be classed as failure now. That is how high the subsequent standards Farah has set for himself.
With American veteran representative Bernard Lagat still running well in elite company at 41, though, it perhaps highlights how Kenya and Ethiopia don’t quite have the superstars of yesteryear.
Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele’s days are done, and the current crop of Africans haven’t quite lived up to their billing. Find your fortune, then, by backing Farah for another long distance double with Coral.
You’ll find more athletics tips for the Olympics in the run-up to and during it on Coral’s dedicated page.