21st May, 2012
Two-time Olympic 10,000m champion, Haile Gebrselassie has tipped Mo Farah of Great Britain for a double Olympic gold at London 2012 despite the Briton’s difficult indoor season.
Farah will go into the Games this summer as one of Great Britain’s biggest medal hopes having won the 5,000m and come second over 10,000m at last year’s World Championships in Daegu, but he has endured a disappointing time of late, only finishing fourth over 3,000m at the World Indoor Championships in March.
As far as Ethiopian Gebrselassie is concerned, though, that should not overly concern the 29-year-old in the build-up to London, where he can see Farah shining once again.
Asked if he thought Farah could win both the 5,000m and 10,000m races at the Games, Gebrselassie said: “Why not? Of course it is not easy for him, but as we saw last year, he is a very strong athlete.
“He nearly won them both (in Daegu), it was very close. It was exciting to see the competition between him and the others and his performance was amazing.
“I think this year if he keeps his training and discipline like last year, believe me he will make something of it.
“You don’t count indoor with outdoor – indoor is a different thing and if you look at his physical (attributes), Mo Farah is not an indoor athlete.
“He is more outdoor and if he is disappointed about his indoor season, then he shouldn’t be – it is a different style.”
Gebrselassie – who was speaking at an event to preview Sunday’s Bupa Great Manchester Run, which he will be looking to win for a fourth straight year and fifth time overall – will not be competing in London having failed to register a sufficient marathon time to make the Ethiopia team.
The 39-year-old admits it was a major blow but says retirement, which he has flirted with in the past, is not currently on his agenda.
“I have participated in the last four Olympics, but to make this fifth one especially was my wish,” Gebrselassie said.
“Maybe I was a little bit too ambitious and that is why I could not make the team – I would have loved to do that, but it didn’t work. What can I do?
“For me it is difficult to say about running at another Olympics, but of course I will keep running and I don’t know how long I will keep competing.
“With running, I cannot just stop tomorrow or the day after – I have to continue. We will see.”
Another big-name long-distance runner who will be taking part in Manchester but – as it stands – not in London is Kenya’s marathon world-record holder Patrick Makau.
He too has been left out of his country’s Olympic squad, although the 27-year-old has not given up all hope just yet.
Makau said: “It is a disappointment for me not to be selected in the team. The guys in Kenya are trying to fix me, but I’m not sure. Either way, I will keep on working on my career.
“When the team was being selected, I was not included, but most Kenyans and people everywhere are complaining about me not being selected. The federation has promised me they are trying to do something, so maybe I can be in the team.”
Makau also believes Farah can perform “wonders” at the Olympics and claim double gold, although he is less sure about how the Somalia-born athlete might fare if he switches his focus to marathon-running after this summer’s Games, as he says he will.
Gebrselassie, who made a similar change in 2004, has suggested in the past that it might be a mistake on Farah’s part, and Makau said on the matter: “I believe in him (Farah) running on the track – in 10,000 and 5,000 he can be good. But in marathons, it is difficult to say.
“He needs firstly to do half-marathons for some years before he comes to the marathons – that is the bridge.”
Alongside the Great Manchester Run, the Great CityGames will also be taking place on Sunday, with GB pair Jessica Ennis and Dwain Chambers and America’s Sanya Richards-Ross among those competing.