British athletics great Mo Farah is to step out onto the track for today’s Diamond League meeting in Birmingham, England, in a far happier frame of mind than the one that forced him to withdraw last year.
The 33-year-old Somalia-born double Olympic titleholder is to run in the 3,000m a year on after he withdrew because he felt “emotionally and physically” drained following a BBC documentary that alleged Farah’s coach Alberto Salazar was involved in doping.
While Farah was not implicated — Salazar denied any wrongdoing — he believed his name was being “dragged through the mud.”
He rebounded later last year to defend his world outdoor 5,000m and 10,000m titles in Beijing.
Farah comes into the Birmingham meet on the back of a morale-boosting victory in the 10,000m at the meet in Eugene, Oregon, on May 27.
“I’m kind of disappointed. I was hoping to run a lot faster,” said Farah, who is to defend his 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic titles in Rio de Janeiro in August.
“I felt good at the beginning. Then about mid-race, I kind of felt like, not sluggish, but didn’t quite get moving. It was hard to pick it up,” he said.
Farah will want to back that win up with a victory over the shorter distance today and dispel the belief that his level of performance was slipping following a defeat in the world half-marathon in Cardiff in March.
Kenyan 800m champion David Rudisha — another of the standout performers at the London Olympics whose chances of defending his title in Rio looked in the balance through no fault of his own — is to compete in the rarely run 600m.
Rudisha, who produced one of the most memorable Olympic winning performances in London, breaking the world record to boot, considers it a vital part of his training program for Rio.
While Farah was not satisfied with his performance in Eugene, another winner that night — Kendra Harrison of the US — certainly took the eye as she posted the second-fastest time ever in the women’s 100m hurdles.
Her performance was extraordinary, crossing the line in 12.24 seconds, just 0.03 seconds off the longstanding world record set in 1988 by Bulgarian Yordana Donkova.
She is seeking to show that was not a one-off performance and will be pushed all the way by Australia’s Olympic champion Sally Pearson and 2013 world champion Brianna Rollins of the US.
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