World Athletics 2011: Mo Farah 'nervous' ahead of 10,000m

By Tom FordyceChief Sports Writer in Daegu, South Korea

Mo Farah admits he will be battling nerves as well as the greatest 10,000m runner of all time when he seeks to win Britain's first gold medal of the 2011 World Championships on Sunday.

Farah is the fastest man in the world this year over 10,000m but must defeat the three-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele if he is to become the first British male ever to win a global distance title on the track.

He told BBC Sport: "I've always been nervous before my races, whether it was at school, or on borough sports days, right up to major championships.

"It's not going to be easy - people might be saying, 'Oh, you can win it' but I've got to get the tactics right, be there to cover every move."

Since moving to Oregon in the United States to work with new coach Alberto Salazar, double European gold medallist Farah has taken his running to a new level, smashing both the British 5,000m and European 10,000m records after winning European Indoor gold in the spring.

In doing so he has shown an ability to win races by gradually winding up the pace, by accelerating with two laps to go or by kicking hard on the final bend, a new-found virtuosity that is likely to be tested to the maximum by his east African rivals.

No-one quite knows what shape Bekele, who is aiming for his fifth World 10,000m title, might be in. The Ethiopian great has not raced on the track since injuring his calf in January last year.

But his compatriot Sileshi Sihine and Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese - beaten into fifth as Farah won the Prefontaine Classic at the start of the track season - will make this the best field the 28-year-old from west London has ever had to compete against to win a medal.

"You have to be confident that you can run in different ways, particularly against the African runners," says Farah.

"It's great that I've been able to win in different ways this season, because it gives you real confidence, but running a fast lap is one thing, getting it right in a major championships is quite another."

Earlier this week GB head coach Charles van Commenee admitted Farah would need to prove himself still further as he lines up in a major final as favourite for a gold medal.

"Concerned is not the right word, but being in that position for perhaps the first time is quite a challenge for him," Van Commenee told BBC Sport.

Farah too is keen to play down his role as most observers' pre-race pick.

"I think it's a good thing, because it shows that I've been running well. But you have to forget about everything that's gone before when you're on the start line."

Farah spent Saturday evening running a series of 200m and 150m repeats on the warm-up track adjacent to the athletes' village here in Daegu, watched by his wife Tania and six-year-old daughter Rihanna, but has now said goodbye to his family until after the final.

"I can have no distractions in the village - you just have to switch off," he said.

"It's definitely very difficult, because I'm not just away for two weeks, I'm away for five weeks, six weeks.

"But these are the sacrifices you have to make when you want to make the best of yourself, and it's a great feeling when it all pays off."

Top Stories