Farah has Rio on his mind in Cardiff test

The Herald - Herald Sport - - ATHLETICS - MARK WOODS

FIND­ING mo­ti­va­tion has never been a worry for Mo Farah but the dou­ble Olympic cham­pion has in­sisted his sur­prise de­feat in Ed­in­burgh in Jan­uary might prove to be the cat­a­lyst for a suc­cess­ful de­fence of his ti­tles this sum­mer.

The 33-year-old will shake off a bout of sick­ness to aim at a fresh con­quest in today’s IAAF world half-marathon cham­pi­onships in Cardiff, with the bi­en­nial event serv­ing as an essen­tial part of his build-up to­wards Rio.

De­spite skip­ping last week­end’s world in­doors near his Ore­gon home to fo­cus on the Welsh out­ing, vic­tory will be a tough ask for the Euro­pean record holder who lines up against de­fend­ing cham­pion Ge­of­frey Kam­woror as well as his Kenyan com­pa­tri­ots Bedan Karoki and Stan­ley Bi­wott, the top three in the 2015 rank­ings. But Farah claims com­ing sec­ond in the cap­i­tal’s In­ter­na­tional XC might have been the spur he needed to re­set his fo­cus.

“It was tough,” he said. “As an ath­lete, you don’t want to lose any race, par­tic­u­larly at home. But it’s where I was at. My body can’t lie. You get some days when you go back and see what went wrong, how you lose the race, what hap­pened, how am I train­ing?

“I knew train­ing was go­ing OK but it wasn’t where I needed to be. It kind of gave me a wake-up. I went away, had a good six weeks, came back and won in Glas­gow in­doors. Then I was train­ing and this is an­other test.”

Farah ac­knowl­edges that win­ning rather than times will be the key fac­tor in today’s race. “It will be tac­ti­cal race,” he said. “This is part of my jour­ney to Rio, so it’s im­por­tant to come away with a good re­sult and then go and an­a­lyse it with my coach and plan the sea­son. It’s a great op­por­tu­nity to get an­other world ti­tle if I do come away with a win.”

Farah will be joined in the Bri­tish team by Rio marathon hope­ful Cal­lum Hawkins who low­ered his per­sonal best to 62 min­utes and 36 sec­onds in Paris ear­lier this month. The 23-year-old Scot will seek an­other re­as­sur­ing per­for­mance ahead of next month’s Olympic tri­als in the Lon­don Marathon. “This will be my first world cham­pi­onships as a se­nior ath­lete, so it’s some­thing to cel­e­brate and look for­ward to,” he said.

Pic­ture: SNS

GROWN UP: Cal­lum Hawkins will take part in his first world cham­pi­onships as a se­nior ath­lete in Cardiff.

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