UK Athletics defends decision to fund Mo Farah as 24 athletes miss out

• Funding maintained for Farah despite hints over quitting GB team
• Tiffany Porter, Shara Proctor and James Ellington among 24 to miss out

UK Athletics has vigorously defended the decision to keep Mo Farah on funding - and insisted that Britain’s most successful athlete will go for glory over 26.2 miles at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Critics of the decision to award Farah World Class Performance Programme funding - which was revealed by the Guardian on Thursday - have argued that not only is the 34-year-old yet to prove he is a top marathoner but also hinted barely three months ago that he was unlikely to run for Britain again.

Given the 34-year-old’s high training and medical costs, it could be argued that UK Athletics’ money would be better spent elsewhere. However UK Athletics’ performance director, Neil Black, is confident that Farah can prove the sceptics wrong by winning yet another Olympic medal. “Mo is very positive about Tokyo,‚Äù said Black. ‚ÄúHis words are ’As long as I am fit, healthy and competitive I will run the marathon in Tokyo’. He has always said he loves competing for his country and he loves winning medals. And as we all know he is pretty good at both of those.”

Black also claimed that Farah was capable of running much faster than his marathon personal best of 2hr 08m 21 sec, run in his only full attempt in 2014, saying: “We know that in 2014 if he’d probably run the marathon about four weeks earlier we think he would have run significantly faster. And there’s absolutely no doubt in our minds that he can be competitive in a championship race.”

Black also dismissed suggestions that UK Athletics should not be paying for Farah’s training, given he is not committed to running for Britain in next year’s European Championships or at the 2019 World Championships and will be nearly 38 by the time of the next Olympics. “Mo doesn’t have an expectation that British Athletics or UK Sport should pay for everything he does,” said Black. “He is a realist. He understands the world. He is grateful for support and is enthusiastic to compete. We will have common sense and honest conversations.”

Some reports have claimed that Farah’s former coach, Alberto Salazar, will remain as a hidden puppet master pulling the strings behind the scenes, but Black insisted this was “100% not the case” and that he had a “good relationship” with his new coach Gary Lough.

Farah will be joined on podium-level funding by the young marathon runner Callum Hawkins, who finished fourth at the recent world championships in London, and the hammer thrower Nick Miller, who was sixth in his event.

However a number of big names are among 24 British athletes to lose their lottery money. They include the world championship medallists Tiffany Porter and Shara Proctor, who have both struggled this year in the 100m hurdles and long jump respectively, and the sprinters Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and James Ellington.

Black also defended the decision not to put Laura Weightman, who was sixth over 1500m at the world championships, back on funding. “Laura has had a brilliant 2017 but she’s looking at her future and she’s not certain on which event she’ll concentrate on going forwards,” he said, pointing out she was exploring running the 3,000m steeplechase and 5,000m. “She’s not sure if she’ll be a 1500m runner in the future and that would be the only event we could look at.”

That reasoning, however, is curious given UK Athletics’ decision to fund Farah for an event he has little experience in either.

Meanwhile, the World Para Athletics Championships gold medallists Olivia Breen, Sophie Kamlish and Sammi Kinghorn have been moved up to Paralympic podium funding.

Contributor

Sean Ingle

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

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
Mo Farah calls time on GB career after victory in final track outing
Mo Farah called time on his GB career after winning his final track race by handing his international vest to Andrew Butchart as a symbolic gesture marking the changing of the guard

Sean Ingle at Alexander Stadium

20, Aug, 2017 @7:38 PM

Article image
Mo Farah in ‘good shape’ for last-ditch shot at Olympic qualification
Mo Farah, who has failed to record time required for 10,000m Olympic qualification, is in good form according to 1500m runner Jake Wightman

Sean Ingle

24, Jun, 2021 @9:00 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
Mo Farah brushes off bad run and says he can defend Olympic 10,000m title
Mo Farah blamed a ‘niggle’ in his left ankle for his poor performance as the 38-year-old ran 22 seconds outside the qualifying time for Tokyo

Sean Ingle

06, Jun, 2021 @9:30 PM

Article image
Mo Farah aims to punish his rivals with final flourish in Super Saturday encore
If the Olympic 10,000m final comes down to a thundering charge in the final 400m, Mo Farah is confident none of his opponents will be able to keep up

Sean Ingle in Rio de Janeiro

12, 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
Mo Farah to put family before decision to race at Tokyo Games
Mo Farah, Britain’s gold-medal winner at 5,000m and 10,000m in Rio, has said he will take his decision to compete at Tokyo 2020 ‘one year at a time’

Sean Ingle in Rio de Janeiro

21, Aug, 2016 @9:06 PM

Article image
British Athletics doctors face scrutiny from MPs over Mo Farah infusion
British Athletics doctors will face parliamentary scrutiny over whether Mo Farah violated any anti-doping rules in 2014

Sean Ingle

18, Apr, 2017 @1:09 PM

Article image
Mo Farah storms to 10,000m gold at World Athletics Championships
Mo Farah produced the greatest performance of his career to capture yet another world championship 10,000m title at the London Stadium

Sean Ingle at the London Stadium

04, Aug, 2017 @9:19 PM