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Mo Farah’s Olympic hopes in balance as he misses Tokyo 2020 10,000m qualification

Farah was racing in a track 10,000m for the first time since the World Championships in 2017

Two-time defending champion Mo Farah’s hopes of representing Great Britain in the Olympic 10,000m seem to be over after he fell short of the qualifying mark in the European 10,000m Cup.

The 38-year-old was eighth, behind fellow Briton Marc Scott, in a race that doubled as the Olympic trial.

Farah’s time of 27 minutes 50.54 seconds in Birmingham was more than 22 seconds short of the required time.

He said afterwards that he was carrying an injury to his left ankle.

“I’m disappointed with the result,” he said.

“The last 10 days hasn’t been great but no matter what I achieve in my career it’s important I come out and show at the trials.

“It would have been easy not to show. I dug in deep and with 15 laps to go, you know my face, I was hurting hard. I had to keep fighting and digging in.

“What makes us great is being able to challenge yourself and prove it. So that is what you have got to do as the next stage.”

Farah has until 27 June to dip inside the 27:28 standard for Tokyo.

Alternatively he could turn his attention to the 5,000m, an event he also won gold in at both London 2012 and Rio 2016, at the British Championships on 26 June.

However, Farah’s disappointing performance suggests that his plan to retire after a track comeback in Tokyo may be brought forward.

Farah has spent the past three-and-half years attempting to replicate his track success on the road, but his marathon switch failed to stick.

In his first track 10,000m since winning the 2017 world title in the London Stadium, it was clear that the event has moved on.

Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, who finished second at London 2017, has succeeded him as world champion and, in October, broke Kenenisa Bekele’s 15-year-old world record with a time more than 35 seconds quicker than Farah could manage at his best.

Scott’s prediction that Farah’s aura of invincibility had faded proved correct as he finished 0.7 seconds clear of his domestic rival. As the first Briton home, and with the qualifying time clocked back in February, it was enough to claim his own ticket to Tokyo.

Frenchman Morhad Amdouni was well clear of both, winning in 27:23.39.

Eilish McColgan
Eilish McColgan will represent Great Britain at a third Olympics after running the steeplechase at London 2012 and the 5,000m at Rio 2016

In the women’s elite race, Eilish McColgan overhauled Israel’s Selamawit Teferi in the final 50m to claim victory in 31:19.21 and confirm her Tokyo spot, but the real emotion erupted behind the leading pair.

Jess Judd collapsed in tears as she came third in 31:20.84, a time good enough to take her to the Olympics for the first time.

The 26-year-old stepped up to 10,000m for the first time last month after a career spent at middle and shorter distances. On that occasion, she fell less than a second short of the Olympic qualifying standard of 31:25.

“I am buzzing, I am absolutely over the moon,” she told Athletics Weekly.external-link “I never thought it would happen.”

Verity Ockenden and Amy-Eloise Markovc finished fourth and fifth – both outside the Olympic qualifying time.

McColgan’s qualification means she will run in Tokyo, 30 years on from her mother Liz winning world 10,000m gold in the Japanese capital.

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