MO-VING ON TO NEWER HEIGHTS

QATARTODAY TALKS TO SIR MO FARAH, GOLD MEDAL­LIST AT THE 2012 AS WELL AS THE 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES, IN BOTH THE 5000 AND 10,000 ME­TRE CAT­E­GORIES.

Qatar Today - - INSIDE THIS ISSUE - BY ANJALI JA­COB

QatarToday talks to Sir Mo Farah, gold medal­list at the 2012 as well as the 2016 Olympic Games, in both the 5000 and 10,000 me­tre cat­e­gories.

Sir Mo­hammed Farah is of­ten known as Bri­tain's most suc­cess­ful dis­tance run­ner, in ad­di­tion to be­ing the most dec­o­rated ath­lete in the his­tory of Bri­tish athletics. He has four Olympic Gold medals un­der his belt, and was knighted by Queen El­iz­a­beth II in the 2017 New Year Hon­ours for ser­vices to athletics.

In Au­gust last year, Sir Mo an­nounced his re­tire­ment from track rac­ing and de­cided to fo­cus on marathons. He was in Doha ear­lier this year for the Oore­doo Doha Marathon 2018, and talked about dis­tance run­ning and his life.

Sir Mo is a Bri­tish na­tional who moved to the UK, from his birth­place in So­ma­lia, when he was only eight years old. Right from the start, he took an interest in sports and par­tic­i­pated in run­ning dur­ing his Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion (PE) classes. Although his pas­sion at the time was foot­ball and he dreamt of play­ing for Arse­nal FC one day, his coach at the time, Alan Watkin­son, saw po­ten­tial in him, and en­cour­aged him to fo­cus on run­ning. “My PE teacher thought I was pretty good at run­ning, and sort of con­vinced me to stick to it, and here I am to­day,” says Sir Mo.

He an­nounced his shift back to the UK from his ear­lier res­i­dence in Ore­gon, USA, in Septem­ber 2017. He also an­nounced a split with his for­mer coach Al­berto Salazar and is now train­ing un­der Gary Lough, who has coached and is mar­ried to Paula Rad­cliffe. He says the move to Lon­don was so that he could spend more time with his fam­ily and friends.

Sir Mo de­scribes his train­ing process to be thor­ough but not ex­ces­sive. “I al­ways make sure that I'm not overex­ert­ing my body, so I al­ways plan out in ad­vance which com­pe­ti­tions I want to par­tic­i­pate in and then I train ac­cord­ingly. Every year there are mul­ti­ple events and com­pe­ti­tions, so if I can't make it to one this year, I will def­i­nitely make up for it the next year. But you have to take care of your body.”

Sup­port of fam­ily and fans makes all the dif­fer­ence to Sir Mo and helps keep his spir­its up espe­cially dur­ing the race when en­ergy lev­els run low. He also en­cour­ages oth­ers to “do what you love, and love what you do”.

Sir Mo hopes to com­pete in the Lon­don Marathon in April 2018, on which he is fo­cus­ing at present. Train­ing un­der Lough is a new ex­pe­ri­ence for Sir Mo, who de­scribes him as “very hands-on and makes me go the ex­tra mile, which can be tir­ing at times, but it's what gets re­sults”. Sir Mo be­lieves that get­ting to know your coach and hav­ing a good work flow with them can make all the dif­fer­ence in terms of train­ing and per­for­mance.

Sir Mo grew up watch­ing the Olympics and it was one of his dreams to win an Olympic Gold. He looked up to many ath­letes, in­clud­ing Rad­cliffe, and was hum­bled when he fi­nally won his first Olympic Gold in 2012 in Lon­don. Sir Mo is known to cel­e­brate his vic­to­ries by do­ing a lit­tle dance move called the ‘Mobot', which has be­come a sig­na­ture of his iden­tity. He has also been in­volved in char­ity work in East Africa and was ap­pointed the am­bas­sador of Marathon Kids.

He says: “I hope I can help kids to be more ac­tive and in­volved in run­ning or any sport for that mat­ter. I also have four kids of my own, so it's a good in­flu­ence for them as well.”

Sir Mo is a fan of the Middle East and is awed by the rich cul­ture, cui­sine and peo­ple of Qatar. He ap­pre­ci­ates the level of im­por­tance that Qatar gives to sports, espe­cially the As­pire Academy.

“I think it's bril­liant that they started an in­sti­tu­tion which helps ath­letes train and ed­u­cate them­selves, and is funded by the govern­ment. It re­ally shows how val­ued sport is over here, and I love to be a part of that any­time,” con­cludes Sir Mo, who hopes to visit Qatar again in the fu­ture, dur­ing the 2019 World Cham­pi­onships

“I HOPE I CAN HELP KIDS TO BE MORE AC­TIVE AND IN­VOLVED IN RUN­NING OR ANY SPORT FOR THAT MAT­TER. I ALSO HAVE FOUR KIDS OF MY OWN, SO IT'S A GOOD IN­FLU­ENCE FOR THEM AS WELL.”

Mo Farah's wax statue at Madame Tus­saud`s, Lon­don

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