LONDON, United Kingdom, July 23- Mo Farah has told the Kenyan team who baited him with a warning to expect war at the Olympics to ‘bring it’, insisting he can still beat them in his quest to make history.
The 33-year-old admits he is yet to hit top gear this season as he bids to become only the second man in history to retain two Olympic distance titles next month.
He was moderately happy with his 3,000m victory at the Birmingham Diamond League in June, where he broke a 34-year-old British record, but everything else has fallen short of his exacting standards.
“I haven’t been satisfied so far. Birmingham was OK, but the rest have been average. I know I can do better but it is what it is. I just have to get it right in Rio.”
There is no reason to hit the panic button just yet, but Farah was shaken by his performance at the Cardiff half marathon championships in March when he came away with bronze.
While it was no disgrace, Kenyan pair Geoffrey Kamworor and Bedan Karoki ran hard from the gun and proved they could defeat the Briton by working as a team.
They will be joined by Paul Tanui in the 10,000m in Rio and Kenyan team coach Julius Kirwa claimed they were getting set as if for battle. He said: “Our preparation for the Games is not based on an individual. In any case, we are going for war. And when preparing for war, you don’t know whether you will be ambushed or survive.”
Farah believes the trio will provide the main obstacle to him becoming the first man since Finnish legend Lasse Viren in 1976 to do the distance double-double.
“People always think, ‘Mo’s going to double up, he’s going to win two golds,’. It’s not going to be that easy. I’ve got to do the 10,000m, get through that and then come back for the heats of the 5,000m and then hopefully the final.”
“It’s going to be hard. But at the same time I’m going to do everything I can in my ability and give it 110 per cent. The Kenyans aren’t going to make it easy for me. They didn’t make it easy for me in Cardiff and I’m sure it won’t be easy in Rio. But my message to them would be “bring it!”’
The 5,000m on Saturday, when he faces America’s world champion from 2007, Bernard Lagat, will be Farah’s final outing before returning to his high-altitude training camp in the small town of Font Romeu in the French Pyrenees. From there he will fly straight to Rio.
“It’s my last race and in the past I have always gone out there and done well in my last race. That always gives me a nice little boost. We have still got a little bit to work on for Rio, a little bit of sharpening up. There are a few more key sessions I would like to get under my belt.”
London’s Olympic Stadium holds the happiest of memories for Farah, although the aesthetics have changed since 2012, the capacity reduced from 80,000 to 60,000. But it is the claret and blue of West Ham that colours the whole stadium which most concerns avid Arsenal fan Farah.
“Just winning my second gold medal was an amazing feeling with the whole nation going crazy and everyone cheering for me,’ he said. ‘Those memories are what keep me going every day — days that I feel tired and don’t feel like I can do it.”
‘But when I walked in all I saw was West Ham and I was like: “Pretend you didn’t see that”. I guess I just have to not think outside the box and run on the track. But it is officially West Ham’s stadium now.”