Friday 21 October 2016

Mo Farah: All I want is to run against clean athletes

Published 22/07/2016 | 14:50

Mo Farah celebrates winning the men's 10,000 metres final during the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing last year
Mo Farah celebrates winning the men's 10,000 metres final during the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing last year

Mo Farah insists all he wants is to be able to compete against clean athletes as the spectre of doping threatens to overshadow the Rio Olympics.

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The 33-year-old races for the final time before the defence of his 5,000 and 10,000 metres crowns in Brazil when he returns to London's Olympic Stadium, the scene of his twin golds four years ago, to compete over the shorter distance at the Muller Anniversary Games on Saturday.

Farah joined Usain Bolt in backing the decision to keep Russian track and field athletes out of the Games, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport upholding the suspension imposed by athletics' world governing body the IAAF because of state-sponsored doping.

"We (in Great Britain) have very tight rules and I just wished other countries applied them," Farah said at a press conference.

"Usain and myself and the rest of us, we work so hard and then something happens and it takes away our limelight. Nobody wants to see it, but we have to do what is right.

"All I want to be able to do is run against clean athletes fairly.

"There's no point having one rule for one country and another for another country."

The drug testing procedures in Kenya, whose athletes are likely to provide Farah's chief opposition in Rio, have also been fiercely criticised. There had been threats, not carried out, to ban its athletes from the Games too.

Farah endured an uncomfortable time last year following doping allegations, denied and unproven, against his coach Alberto Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project.

And the Briton admits he has sympathy for the clean Russian athletes.

"I do feel bad for the athletes who haven't done anything or who haven't crossed the line," he said.

"It is not a nice thing. Last year you put me through hell and I hadn't done anything."

Farah flew into London on Thursday from his altitude training base at Font Romeu in the French Pyrenees, having honed his finishing speed by racing over 1500m in Monaco a week ago.

Farah's season has so far included a third-placed finish at the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, a 10,000m victory at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene and a British 3,000m record at the Birmingham Diamond League.

But he has been far from impressed with his results.

"I haven't been satisfied," he said. "Birmingham was okay, the rest have been average. I know I can do better. I just have to get it right in Rio.

"Hopefully I should do."

In London, in his first 5,000m race of the year, Farah's chief opposition is likely to come from Kenyan pair Edwin Soi and Isiah Kiplangat Koech and Farah wants a win to give him a "nice little boost" going into Rio.

Farah finds it "crazy" that four years have elapsed since his golden summer at London 2012 and the next Games are around the corner, and admits there are nerves.

"I do get nervous thinking about it," he said,

"Everything is done, I don't think I could do any more. The whole season is always leading up to the Olympics - step, step, step, we're almost at the top now."

The father of four, who spends much of the year away from his young family, credits them with keeping him hungry for more success.

"They're the ones that keep me motivated, keep me going, every day," he said. "I really do miss them."

Another long-distance double in Rio, which would be a fourth in a row at global championships and take his tally of global titles to nine, would make the sacrifice worthwhile.

And Farah has one last message to his Kenyan rivals - "Let's bring it."

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