Jo Pavey faces tough 10,000m test to realise dream of five Olympics

• Kate Avery and Beth Potter have already achieved Rio qualifying mark
• Andy Vernon strong favourite at UK 10,000m trials to make men’s squad

Jo Pavey’s ambition to become the first British female athlete to run in five Olympics faces a make-or-break test on Saturday night at the Parliament Hill athletics track, London when she competes at the UK 10,000m trials. Pavey, who will be a month shy of her 43rd birthday when the Games begin in Rio, will be automatically selected if she finishes among the top two British athletes and runs the qualifying time of 32min 15sec by the end of July. And while she has not raced in 2016, the whispers are that she is showing strong form in training.

Pavey, who became an overnight sensation at the age of 40 when she won the European 10,000m title in Zurich two years ago, faces a tough test against two 24-year-olds, Kate Avery and Beth Potter, who have already achieved the Olympic qualifying mark. Even so, she is happy to be in the mix.

“I thought I would be retired by now so it is a bonus to still be thinking about competing,” she said recently. “Rio is a massive target, to try to make a fifth Olympics.”

In the men’s race Andy Vernon, who was controversially left out of the British team for last year’s world championships, is a strong favourite to book his place for Rio in the absence of Mo Farah, who will be given an automatic place. Kenenisa Bekele, the world 5,000m and 10,000m record holder, says Farah has a “big chance” to repeat his gold medal winning heroics in Rio but must attempt to break his world records to be considered the best middle-distance runner of all time.

“He has achieved a lot with Olympics and world championships but he needs to take the challenge of the clock to take my crown,” said Bekele, who thinks Farah would have a 50-50 chance of toppling his times if he committed himself to chasing records not medals.

When asked whether there would be something missing in Farah’s career if he did not break either the world 5,000m or 10,000m record, Bekele replied: “Of course. If someone is not beating those records, you have to limit him in the order of great runners. If he doesn’t have the capacity to do that, and if he doesn’t try, something will be missing.”

Meanwhile CJ Ujah says Britain’s 4x100m team are “all sweet” after their spectacular falling out at the world championships final in Beijing. Tempers flared after James Ellington was unable to get the baton to Ujah, which left Britain without a medal or a qualifying time for Rio, but Ujah said a series of training camps has mended fences and put the team in a good frame of mind before their first outing of the season at Loughborough on Sunday.

“Our recent practice in Italy was really good and positive,” Ujah said. “Everyone agreed it was our best camp, so hopefully we’ll put down a marker at Loughborough and see what happens. Our demons from Beijing are gone. We sat down and spoke in January, we’ve come back and we’re all settled now, it’s all sweet.”

Ujah also praised the young sprinter Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, who missed the national record by 0.01sec as he became only the third Briton to run under 20sec for 200m. The 22-year-old ran 19.95sec representing Louisiana State University at the Southeastern Conference Championships in Alabama last week – just outside John Regis’s record of 19.94sec but ahead of Adam Gemili’s 19.98sec.

“Nethaneel’s an amazing guy,” Ujah said. “I think out of all the sprinters I probably know him best, because I went to the World Youths with him in 2011 and then I went to the European Juniors with him. I know he hasn’t had an easy road with injuries and other things setting him back, it’s good to see him come out and run what he’s capable of running. Hopefully he’ll come over to the UK trials in June and stamp his authority.”


Sean Ingle

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
London Marathon: Sonia Samuels in tough battle for British Olympic spot
Sonia Samuels is determined to secure her place at the Rio Olympics as one of the top two British finishers in the London Marathon on Sunday

Sean Ingle

22, Apr, 2016 @2:55 PM

Article image
Great Britain to send ‘best-prepared athletics team’ to Rio Olympics
Great Britain is sending ‘the best prepared and arguably strongest athletics team’ in the country’s Olympic Games history to Rio, according to Neil Black

Sachin Nakrani

13, Jul, 2016 @6:22 PM

Article image
Jo Pavey admits she is running out of time to reach record fifth Olympics
Jo Pavey has admitted she is facing an uphill battle to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio

Sean Ingle

06, Jun, 2016 @9:29 PM

Article image
USA women’s 4x100 team qualify for final in solo run-off after baton blunder
The British 4x100m relay teams both reached the relay finals, with the women second fastest in qualifying behind Jamaica but the men less impressive

Owen Gibson and Barry Glendenning

18, Aug, 2016 @8:02 PM

Article image
Britain invests and expects as Team GB aims for masses of medals in Rio
Team GB has become one of the most feared and imitated outfits in the Olympics, but will have to win at least 48 medals if they are to consider Rio a success

Owen Gibson in Rio de Janeiro

05, Aug, 2016 @9:29 PM

Article image
Mo Farah urges media to support him as Olympic 5,000m defence looms
Mo Farah is concentrating on retaining the 5,000m Olympic title after successfully doing so over 10,000m but he asked the media why they are always on his back

Owen Gibson in Rio de Janeiro

14, Aug, 2016 @9:52 PM

Article image
Jessica Ennis-Hill to miss Olympic holding camp but will compete in Rio
Jessica Ennis-Hill is set to miss the official Team GB holding camp before the Olympics, partly over fears around the Zika virus, but has confirmed she will compete at the Rio Games

Sean Ingle

24, Jun, 2016 @11:56 AM

Article image
Jessica Ennis-Hill relishes ‘massive challenge’ of beating Olympic odds
No British woman athlete has won back-to-back Olympic titles and Jessica Ennis-Hill said, ‘I know how difficult it’s going to be’ in the heptathlon at Rio 2016

Sean Ingle in Rio de Janeiro

11, Aug, 2016 @9:00 PM

Article image
Mo Farah taking nothing for granted as he bids to emulate Lasse Viren
Mo Farah insists he is as hungry as ever for success as he bids to bring the curtain down on his remarkable Olympic career with victory in the 5,000m final in Rio

Sean Ingle in Rio de Janeiro

19, Aug, 2016 @4:50 PM

Article image
Sophie Hitchon strikes bronze to claim Britain’s first Olympic hammer medal
Sophie Hitchon claimed hammer bronze at the Rio Olympics with her final throw of 74.54m, which set a British record

Emma John at the Olympic Stadium

15, Aug, 2016 @6:40 PM