If I can’t compete, why bother? – Mo Farah on future after missing out on Tokyo

If I can’t compete, why bother? – Mo Farah on future after missing out on Tokyo

Dejected Sir Mo Farah admitted he will consider his future after failing to qualify for the Olympic Games.

The four-time Olympic champion missed the selection time in an invitational 10,000m at the British Athletics Championships to suffer a devastating blow in Manchester.

Farah needed to go under 27 minutes 28 seconds at the Regional Arena to earn a place on the plane to Tokyo ahead of Sunday night’s selection deadline.

Mo Farah during the race
Farah failed to go under the qualifying time (Martin Rickett/PA)

But he clocked 27 minutes 47.04 seconds and will not defend the Olympic 10,000m title he won in 2012 and 2016 in Japan next month.

Farah, who also won the 5,000m at London and Rio, said: “I don’t know what to think or what’s next for me. I just have to have a chat with my team and see what’s next. If I can’t compete with the best, why bother?

“There’s no excuse in terms of conditions, it is what it is. I genuinely thought I’d come out here, get the time and then go back to the training camp.

“I’ve had some decent sessions since my little niggle (ankle and foot) but I thought I should be able to run that. I’ve always said if I can’t compete with the best I’m not just going to go there to make the team.

“I’ve had an amazing career, thinking about it tonight it’s a bit shocking and I don’t really know what to say.

“I’m lucky enough to have so many medals, I’m one of these athletes who, if you can’t compete with the best, why bother?”

The invitational race was hastily arranged after Farah failed to qualify during the 10,000m trials in Birmingham earlier this month.

He was the second Brit home in eighth on that occasion, behind Marc Scott in 27 minutes 50.54 seconds, and blamed an ankle and foot problem for hampering his attempt.

It was the first time he had lost a 10,000m race in a decade having decided to return to the track after focusing on the marathon since 2017.

Mo Farah
Mo Farah was left to consider his next move (Martin Rickett/PA)

Earlier on Friday, Dina Asher-Smith clocked 11.28 seconds to win the opening 100m heat.

The championship record holder eased into Saturday’s semi-final as her Olympic countdown continued.

“It’s really good to come here to the British Olympic trials, I want to earn the right to be in the next round which means running well,” she said.

“I always believed it (Tokyo) was going to happen so it’s been quite easy to stay motivated. That goal never changes.”

Asher-Smith qualified fastest ahead of Daryll Neita and Asha Philip, while CJ Ujah reached the men’s semi-final in 10.56secs.

European champion Zharnel Hughes won his heat in 10.50secs, with Andrew Robertson also taking first place to progress.

Dina Asher-Smith during her race
Dina Asher-Smith was in action earlier in the day (Martin Rickett/PA)

In the women’s 400m hurdles, heat winners Jessie Knight, 56.88secs, Jessica Turner, 56.96secs, Lina Nielsen, 57.66secs, and Meghan Beesley, 57.53secs, all progressed to Saturday’s final.

It is the first time this century the Championships have not been broadcast on television after the BBC opted not to renew its deal last year.

It is being streamed by British Athletics on YouTube and chief executive Joanna Coates insisted that has not harmed the sport.

“I think I said before that the BBC contract was up. We knew back in 2017 that that wasn’t going to continue and we haven’t changed the product,” she said.

“We’ve had athletes say that they want the product to look differently. We want to engage with new audiences so we honestly believe that we need to own our own content and create something that goes out.

“People have said it’s not on TV but it is, it’s on a lot of smart TVs via YouTube. We think that’s a better way to showcase the sport than it being hidden on the red button and us having to pay for it to be on red button.

“As CEO, I don’t want to devalue the sport and I think giving it away for free devalues the sport.”