Defiant Mo Farah insists he can still be Olympic champion despite flopping on his track return.
The 38-year-old missed the qualifying time for next month’s Games in Tokyo when he finished eighth at the British 10,000m Championships on Saturday.
It marked his return to the track after four years and he now faces a race against the clock to qualify for Team GB and defend the 10,000m title he won in 2012 and 2016.
Four-time Olympic champion Farah finished in 27 minutes 50.54 seconds in Birmingham, well outside the 27 minutes 28 seconds qualifying time, but he still feels he can claim glory in Tokyo.
“Yeah, I believe so. It will take courage and balls to be able to go out there and mix it with the guys,” he said, after a first 10,000m defeat in a decade.
“At the same time, if it is in a situation like now, then there’s no choice but I believe if I get my head down in the next three or four weeks, knuckle down, get this little (ankle) niggle out the way and then hopefully we should be alright.
“This will not be the end. No, no, no, no. There’s a lot of work to be done and I just have to get this thing sorted. It won’t take me long in terms of my fitness. I have to make sure I’m the right.”
Farah has until midnight on June 27 to qualify and join Marc Scott in Team GB after Scott – who already had the qualifying time – finished seventh to become British champion with France’s Morhad Amdouni winning.
Farah knows, though, he is running out of time to make a triumphant return to the track having focused on the marathon since 2017.
He said: “Yeah. It is Mo time or real time. It will be painful (not to qualify) but at the same time I don’t want to just go and make a team or be number one in Britain, I want to go out there and challenge those guys, (Joshua Cheptegei) and the other guys.
“It will take sub 26 minutes. Can I be in that form? I believe I can, but the most important thing, you know, is get this thing sorted and I have three weeks. I need to get ready but obviously time is running out.
“It is not going to be as easy as saying can I do it. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. The important thing is you understand why and I know. I am not myself but it is important I address this, speak to my coach and see what is next.”