Farah Picked for IAAF XC Championships

Story written by EPelle

Great Britain's Mo Farah, winner of the 2006 European Cross Country title last month, is one of six athletes UK officials have pre-selected for Great Britain at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya, on 24 March.

Farah, who turns 24 in March, was named for the senior men's team, while Jo Pavey and Hayley Yelling will toe the line in the senior women's race.

European Junior Cross Country Champion Stephanie Twell will lead the junior team, with pre-selections provided to Emily Pidgeon and Sian Edwards, respectively.

News site onrunning.com quotes Farah as stating that his new-found cross country success will not take his focus off of his long-term plan, namely participating in the 2007 IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Osaka.

"I have always said the summer's World Championships remain my top priority and nothing will alter that."

"But I'd also like to compete at the European Indoors because they are on home soil."

Indeed, it seems fit that Farah would likely contest the 3.000m in Birmingham in March in front of home supporters filled with high expectations for the Somali-born Brit, having placed sixth in the 2005 World Indoor Championships in Madrid (7.54,08 PB) - a race which saw Kenenisa Bekele (7.39,32), Saif Saeed Shaheen (7.41,28) and Eliud Kipchoge
finish 1-2-3.

Farah found success managing the 7,5-lap distance last summer, setting an outdoor personal best time of 7.38,15 in Zagreb. This past summer marked the first time Farah would ever break 8.00 outdoors.

The greater successes he earned were at the longer distances, however - at 5.000m, a distance at which he won the 2001 European Junior Championships (14.09,91) in Grosseto, Italy over Bruno Saramago of Portugal (14.11,65) and Spain's Noel Cutillas (14.12,43). Farah placed 10th at the 2000 World Junior Championships held in Santiago.

Farah's rise to the top of internationl respectability earned terrific stock when he earned the European 5.000m silver medal (13.44,79) here in Göteborg at the 2006 European Championships, essentially tranferring over his junior potential to the senior scale.

Farah, who has five English Schools titles to his name, showed signs of toughness prior to the championships in setting a 3.000m PB at the British Grand Prix at Gateshead, running 7.45,25 for a seventh-place finish. He followed that up with a tremendous breakthrough, running a personal-best time of 13 minutes 9,40 seconds in the 5.000m at the KBC Night of Athletics meet in Heusden, Belgium - a time which ranks second on the UK All-time list behind David Moorcroft's previous world-record of 13.00,41.

Farah is riding a high wave of new-found success, but first he must tackle on the task of making a great showing at the upcoming world championships in Kenya, for which he has been pre-selected in hopes of helping team Great Britain to fight for a medal. Farah took home the European Cross Country title by making a move in the 25th minute - a gutsy effort which no competitor matched in the race. His gold medal was never in danger as he completed the final two minutes of the race.

Having locked up the top spot, Farah became the first Briton to win an individual European cross country title in over a decade, following in Jon Brown's footsteps. Farah took home the title last month by covering the 9.950m course in 27.56 (2.49/km), holding a very comfortable lead over runner-up Fernando Silva of Portugal. UK fans and officials alike hope that Farah can continue building on the momentum he established in 2006, and make an international cross country break-through.

He placed 40th in the 2006 IAAF World Cross Country Championships short-course race (4k), and 21st in the 2005 European Cross Country Championships, but fared much better against Europeans in 2005 IAAF World Cross Country Championships

Farah has a very enduring stretch of racing ahead of him, with his ultimate goal medaling in Osaka. Following the world cross country championships, Farah will head over to Northern California, where he plans on contesting the Cardianl Invitational 10.000m held at Stanford University before heading into the beginning of the Grand Prix season.

"I'll be going to California and might run at 100000m at Stanford."

Here's hoping Farah enjoys greater success and remains injury-free as he plans his long flight through the ranks to the medal round in Osaka.

Mo Farah's Personal bests:

  • 1.500m: 3.38,62 Zürich, 19 Aug 2005
  • Mile: 3.56,49 London 6 Aug 2005
  • 2.000m: 5.06,34 Melbourne 9 Mar 2006
  • 3.000m: 7.38,15 Zagreb 31 Aug 2006
  • 5.000m: 13.09,40 Heusden 22 Jul 2006
  • 5km: 13.30 Stranolar (Ire) 26 Dec 2006
  • 10km: 28.37 NYC 21 May 2006
  • 10 Mile: 48.59 16 Oct 2005

NB: Farah placed second today to Sergiy Lebid over 4km at the 2007 Men's Great Edinburgh Cross Country, running 12.21 - one second behind Lebid.

NB: Farah placed sixth in today's (2007-Jan-7) 10,7km Zornotza Internacional race in Spain

Men (10.7Km) 1. Micah Kogo (Ken) 32.03 2. Tariku Bekele (Eth) 32.03 3. Joseph Ebuya (Ken) 32.04 4. Abiyote Guta (Eth) 32.04 5. Moses Masai (Ken) 32.19 6. Mohamed Farah (Gbr) 32.22 7. Juan Barrios (Mex) 32.48 8. Ali Abdallah (Eri) 33.06 9. Cutbert Nyasango (Zim) 33.26 10. Andrew Letherby (Aus) 33.27

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