This is a question which has been playing on many peoples minds during the last media intensive weeks for Great Britain’s Mo Farah. This is something however which we are very close to finding out in the course of the next 24 hours or so at the Lausanne Diamond League.
The questions of late have been more focussed on what substances he is on; whether he missed drugs tests and whether he is part of an immoral training group, rather than about his running ability. The week before the allegations were made public, Farah competed in Eugene, America over the 10,000m distance, winning in 26:50.97, out kicking some of the worlds best athletes over the final stages. This would be Farah’s last performance to date after dropping out of his home Birmingham Diamond League because he was ‘emotionally and physically drained’ of all the media attention.
Is Farah lacking training?
Because Farah has now had such a long period working hard to sort out the unwanted attention surrounding him off the track, it is quite possible his main focus has not been solely upon training. It is very possible that he would have missed probably about a weeks worth of hard training when the story first broke, flying half way around the world back to his home town, Portland, Oregon and confrontations with Salazar. Despite saying this Farah would make a deliberate move – although Salazar said it was due to timings – to go out to altitude in Europe for dedicated training.
From what Farah has been posting upon social media and saying in exclusive interviews, training has been maintained, but probably not to the desired full level. For example, when interviewed by Sky Sports, he was evidently upset with the level of media disruption what had still followed him out to his training camp up in Font Romeu which on one occasion force him to abandon his track session. Whilst saying this, I don’t believe that this would have deterred him too much in terms of missing out on any of the training. The thing which I bereave Mo will be struggling with instead will be the mental tiredness which his situation has caused meaning it will be interesting to see how he manages to hold up.
Whilst we can speculate all day long over what shape Farah will be in, all the answers will come as of tomorrow night where he competes over the 5000m in Lausanne. This will be his first 5000m race of the year, meeting his other competitive races of 3000m and 10,000m in the middle here at the Lausanne Diamond League. The interesting thing more than anything else will be who Mo will be competing against and the level, strength and depth of his competition.
The field here which has been assembled may arguably be one of the strongest ever in history, more than any Olympic Games or World Championships before. This is due to the fact that the big players of Ethiopia and Kenya – along with all other countries – can only take three athletes to the championships, and with these countries portably having up to 10-15 athletes with international competitiveness, only three get to battle it out. Here instead, a much greater number of these great African countries have their athletes entered, start list here:
The most notable of the names of course come from the African countries. Firstly, the young 17 year old Yomif Kejelcha who is yet to be beaten over 5000m this year after his dominant win at Prefonteine Classic over the likes of Edwin Soi and Galen Rupp. He has already been beaten by Farah comfortably over the 3000m where Farah would come up short to Hagos Gebrhiwet showing he potentially doesn’t have the raw speed to live with the top guys in a very sow race. Gebrhiwet will potentially be the other big threat over the last lap, assuming the race to follow the now all too common slow tactical fashion. With this being the most likely outcome, it is far from a certain win for Farah, having to content with fast finish Iguider and Soi who is the only man to beat Farah over 5000m in the last five years or so.
Not time to worry just yet:
Theres This race tomorrow evening is set to be one of the most highly contested races of the year, even more so than that of the World Championships. For Farah to come away with a British victory, he will certainly have to be on his A game, producing similar last laps to those we saw in the Olympic stadium. For me, I don’t think he will be quite there yet after probably missing some key parts of his ranking over the past few months meaning his speed won’t be at the level of the more fine tuned athletes. This is not something to be worried about as we know Farah has the endurance, it is more about just working and perfecting his kick ready for August, which he will be well on his way to doing so after the Monaco 1500m in the next few weeks.