Don't discount a Farah marathon turnout in 2020

Britain's Mo Farah on his way to winning silver in the 5,000m at the World Championships. The four-time Olympic gold medallist has made a switch to marathon running.
Britain's Mo Farah on his way to winning silver in the 5,000m at the World Championships. The four-time Olympic gold medallist has made a switch to marathon running.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Mo Farah could run the marathon at the next Olympic Games and World Championships, according to Neil Black, the British Athletics performance director.

Farah was Britain's only individual medal winner at the World Championships, which finished on Sunday, taking gold in the 10,000m and silver in the 5,000m.

It was his final championships as a track runner and Farah, 34, is expected to concentrate on the big city marathons in the future.

However, Black believes that the lure of winning medals for Britain could see him back in the national team.

"It's a big part of him, he's a great competitor," Black said.

"I was so impressed by how he came and fought like crazy to produce his best performance, whether it was first, second or third.

"He's going to be driving and competing, whether it's global championships or otherwise. I hope he will do well."

Farah's training regimen is overseen by Black and British Athletics, but that would have to change if Farah was no longer available for championships.

"To be honest, we haven't really talked about it," Black added.

"There's a natural assumption that as long as Mo is competitive at road running and looking towards running global championships in the marathon, then the working relationship will stay the same."

Britain scraped to their target of six to eight medals in London, courtesy of podium places in all four relays.

For Black, though, the five fourth-placed finishes Britain had, all by athletes aged 25 or under, was confirmation that there are good times ahead for the sport in Britain.

"We are looking to produce a team of athletes who are capable of performing at this level," he said.

"I think you have seen the beginnings of those. We have three years to the Tokyo Olympics. Tokyo is our primary aim. So, we are generally very confident."

Black also admitted to a few nerves on Saturday night when Britain had only one medal and speculation was growing over his position. He also denied that the relay prizes were cheap medals.

"If you could see and feel the blood, sweat and tears that go into them, they are certainly not (cheap medals)," he said.

"We have made a massive investment in the relay programme and boldly said we believe we can win medals in all four relays. We are not surprised.

"Of course you are nervous and you are aware of people's views. But we were massively confident - it was just a matter of how many relay medals we would win."

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2017, with the headline 'Don't discount a Farah marathon turnout in 2020'. Print Edition | Subscribe