Why Farah is right to pick London over Glasgow

British distance runner has been criticised for not prioritising the Commonwealth Games

Posted on November 18, 2013 by
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Mo Farah road running (Mark Shearman)

From sub-two-hour marathon madness to supposedly sidestepping the Commonwealth Games, there’s never a dull moment when you’re a double world and Olympic distance-running champion.

After weeks of frenzied speculation, Mo Farah finally rubbished rumours that he was planning an assault on the two-hour barrier for 26.2 miles. Consternation continues, though, over his apparent disinterest in Glasgow 2014.

Alan Hubbard, a sportswriter at 10 Commonwealth Games, says Farah won’t get his BBC sports personality vote due to what even the diplomatic organisers are describing as “a bit of a snub”. Writing on insidethegames.biz, he said Farah “should be making an England vest a priority in Glasgow rather than becoming a marathon man in London”.

Scottish sportswriter Euan McLean added: “Now that Farah has revealed the Commonwealth Games is not on his list, it’s time for UK Athletics to remove him from theirs. Strip him of his funding.”

In an article that was lambasted by several GB athletes on Twitter, McLean added: “What Farah is doing stinks to high heaven.”

Alberto Salazar, Farah’s coach, also told the Telegraph this week that racing in Glasgow so soon after the London Marathon could lead to injury.

In an interview with Seb Coe for the Telegraph, Salazar said: “If he (Farah) runs the marathon in London he will take three weeks (at least) off training, maybe a month. That then leaves about nine weeks of running before Glasgow. Even after a break he can’t just get straight back into full training. For a few weeks, it’s only gentle running. Then we introduce some speed work that then only leaves a few weeks before he has to tackle the best Kenyans over the distances.”

Farah’s critics accuse him of choosing a big pay day in London instead of supporting a major event on home soil. Yet I wonder if they understand Farah’s background with the London Marathon.

Aged 18, Farah nearly joined the Army but was given a London Marathon scholarship to attend St Mary’s University. There, in the UKA high performance endurance centre, his board and fees were paid for by the London Marathon. Later, the Marathon’s race director Dave Bedford was instrumental in his life-changing move to Alberto Salazar’s training group.

I’d love to see Farah race in Glasgow. But if we’re talking about where Farah’s loyalty should lie, it strikes me it should be with London not Scotland.

Plus, neither Farah, nor Usain Bolt for that matter, have completely ruled Glasgow out yet anyway.

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