After years of sacrifice and thousands of miles of training, Mo Farah believes his Olympic dream will be decided by a fraction of a second in London.
And the world champion is banking on the support of 80,000 home fans to get him across the line first as he begins his season in Glasgow this weekend, just days after returning from altitude training in Kenya.
Farah, who won gold over 5,000 metres and silver in the 10,000m in Daegu last year, will compete over 1,500m in the Aviva International Match at Kelvin Hall as part of his plan to produce a devastating sprint finish in London.
The difference between gold and silver in both of Farah’s races in South Korea was tiny – 0.26 seconds in the 10,000m and 0.28sec in the 5,000m – and the 28-year-old believes it will be the same on home soil this summer.
“I believe it’s going to come down to a one-lap race in London unless someone goes really early,” Farah said. “Zersenay Tadese tried to go at the worlds but couldn’t break the field.
“It’s definitely going to come down to the last lap and nought-point-something (of a second).
“I’ve been working a little bit to try and shorten my stride. When you are sprinting you want to move more upright and take shorter strides, but I have a long loping stride. It’s going to be a 51, 52-second last lap for sure to win gold. I did a relay split years ago for my club and it was 49 seconds, but that wasn’t at the end of a 10,000m! It was a 4x400 relay.”
Farah’s last competitive 1,500m was in Monaco in 2009 when he finished a lowly tenth, but much has changed since then. Last year’s move to Portland, Oregon to be coached by Alberto Salazar paid handsome dividends, and Farah has gone from an also-ran at the very highest level to arguably Britain’s best hope for gold on the track.
While Farah was expected to win a medal in Daegu, Hannah England’s silver in the 1,500m came as something of a surprise – not least to the woman herself. But the 24-year-old believes that success has finally given her the self-belief to compete more consistently at the highest level as she looks to follow in the footsteps of her mentor, Kelly Holmes, by winning Olympic gold.
“It’s just mentally knowing I am good enough to run with the other girls,” said England, who will also compete over 1,500m in Glasgow.