Mo Farah: Edinburgh crucial in my Olympic defence

Mo Farah was victorious on his last Edinburgh cross-country outing in 2011

Mo Farah was victorious on his last Edinburgh cross-country outing in 2011

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Mo Farah has claimed his outing at this weekend’s Great Edinburgh XC can set him up for another golden Olympic double.

The 32-year-old is preparing to fly in from his Oregon base to start his countdown to Rio 2016 in Holyrood Park on Saturday where he took victory on his last cross-country outing in 2011. Since then, it’s been almost uninterrupted success on the track and the roads for the Londoner, who has racked up seven global titles. He insists his Scottish trip is a major part of his build-up toward Brazil.

“I am only doing one cross-country race in 2016 and that will be in Edinburgh,” he said. “I have competed in this race several times in the past and it is always a good early season test. I mainly use cross country to build up my endurance for the summer track season.”

With Farah signalling he will skip March’s world indoor championships, the Great Britain internationalist is likely to concentrate his efforts on preparing for the Olympics following his appearance at next month’s Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow. And, with his Kenyan and Ethiopian rivals intent on ending his long reign as the sport’s dominant distance runner, there can be no resting on past laurels.

“We are still planning my 2016 season but, for me, the priority is to defend my Olympic titles in August in Rio and I will try to peak for that,” he said. “I will still have to train extremely hard, stay healthy and be injury-free to be in the shape to win.”

• Don’t miss tomorrow’s exclusive Evening News interview with Mo Farah ahead of this weekend’s Great Edinburgh XCountry.