If reaching No1 in the world represents an impressive enough achievement, the immediate endorsement of that status by way of victory in a high-profile event should afford an extra layer of adulation. In Jason Day’s case it most certainly will.
Mo Farah has admitted that winning Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m gold in Rio will be much tougher than four years ago after his valiant but comprehensive defeat by the Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor at the world half-marathon championships on Saturday.
But Farah, who dug deep to produce his trademark sprint finish and take bronze, insists he remains the man to beat on the track even if the Kenyans repeat their tactic of going hard from the gun – a strategy that worked to perfection in Cardiff, with the 23-year-old Kamworor and his 25-year-old compatriot Bedan Karoki dropping him shortly after halfway before beating him by 49 and 23 seconds respectively.
“It’s going to be a lot harder than London 2012,” said Farah, who celebrated his 33rd birthday last week. “I’m older and I think it’s definitely going to be a stronger field so it’s going to be a real battle.
“Geoffrey and Bedan will be the main challengers over 10,000m and they’re probably going to be doing a similar thing where they go from the start. But I don’t know whether they’re capable of running around or under 26.40.
“That’s what I have to do if I want to win. It’s not rocket science. And at the Olympics Kenya are allowed only three runners so they can’t sacrifice anyone.”
Farah also said Saturday’s defeat would have no psychological impact when he meets Kamworor and Karoki over 10,000m on the track in Rio, a distance that will play more to his strengths than the 13.1-mile road race in Cardiff.
“Geoffrey can’t beat me in a 10k,”he said, laughing. “Well, he can obviously but I’m not going to let him do that. Marathon, half marathon and road races are completely different. The track is mine.
“When I raced at the Prefontaine meeting [in Oregon] last year I had to win and put a marker down. That’s what it was and I think I’m going to do the same thing in 2016 – race at ‘Pre’, then a few races in the UK and then Rio.”
Farah made it clear there were no excuses for his chastening defeat, despite being ill in the build-up to the race. “I was beaten by the better men on the day,” he said. “Everybody gets a cold now and then and misses a couple of days here and there, You’ve just got to be sensible about it. There’s no point telling yourself: ‘Oh man, last week I was ill.’ One of these guys could’ve been ill, I don’t know.”
“Training hasn’t been as smooth as I wanted but it’s good to get the hiccups out of the way now rather than closer to Rio,” he added. “I just need to go home now, have a bit of a break, spend a bit of time with my family for a couple of weeks, then get to my training camp in Flagstaff.”
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