Farah: "This will not be the end. It won’t finish here” (Image: Getty Images)
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Sir Mo Farah claims he can still win the Tokyo Olympics despite going from champion to also-ran.
Farah suffered his first 10,000m defeat for 10 years in the British Olympic trial in Birmingham on Saturday night.
He finished 22 seconds outside the qualifying mark and now has just three weeks before the deadline to run the time.
“There is a lot of work that needs to be done, I am not myself,” said Britain’s most decorated athlete. “But this will not be the end. It won’t finish here.”
Farah, the double Olympic champion of London and Rio, pointed to a ankle injury in training as to the reason for trailing in eighth in a race which doubled up as the European Cup.
His time of 27:50.54 was more than a minute outside his best as Marc Scott made good on his pledge to overthrow the long-distance king and become British champion.
Farah revealed he had been troubled by an ankle injury for the past fortnight
(Image: British Athletics via Getty Imag)
He has until June 27 to achieve the 27:28 standard for Tokyo or switch his focus and try to qualify for the 5,000m instead. Alternatively, he could call it quits.
Farah said: “I don't want to just go and make a team or be number one in Britain, I want to go out there and challenge (Joshua) Cheptegei and the other guys.
“But obviously time is running out. I'm going to have a chat with my coach to figure what is next. It has to be a 10k somewhere.
Marc Scott crosses line ahead of Farah to win British title and stamp his ticket for Tokyo
(Image: Action Images via Reuters)
“Can I still win the Olympics? It will take courage and balls but I believe so, yeah.
“I believe if I get my head down in the next three weeks, knuckle down and get this little niggle out the way, hopefully we should be alright.
“It is Mo time or real time.”
The loneliness of the long distance runner
Scott said he hoped becoming British champion marked a changing of the guard with Farah now 38 and his best long behind him.
It is 10 years since the Londoner ran his fastest race and that time is more than half a minute slower than Cheptegei’s world record of 26:11.00.
“Maybe tonight showed, there's a bit of weakness in the age there,” said Scott. “It's a great scalp for me. It's the first time I beat him.
Farah and Scott jockey for positions early in Saturday's race at the University of Birmingham
“But if anyone can come back and run the time and get on the plane, it's him.”
Such respect is the least Farah deserves. Eighth place behind closed doors on a university track might end up being his inglorious swansong.
But it won’t be how he’s remembered. There were too many good nights for that.