Farah seeks happier ending at Birmingham Diamond meet

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Farah seeks happier ending at Birmingham Diamond meet

BIRMINGHAM (UNITED KINGDOM) – British athletics great Mo Farah will step out on the track for Sunday’s Diamond League meeting in Birmingham in a far happier frame of mind than the one which forced him to withdraw last year.

Britain’s Mo Farah (L) will run in the 3000 metres at the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham a year after he withdrew because he felt ’emotionally and physically’ drained

The 33-year-old Somalia-born double Olympic titleholder runs in the 3000 metres a year on after he withdrew because he felt ’emotionally and physically’ drained following a BBC documentary which alleged Farah’s coach Alberto Salazar was involved in doping.

Whilst Farah was not implicated — Salazar denied any wrongdoing — he believed his name was being ‘dragged through the mud’.

However, showing true grit he rebounded later in 2015 to successfully defend his world outdoor 5000 and 10000m titles in Beijing.

Farah comes into the Birmingham meet on the back of a morale-boosting victory in the 10000m at the Eugene meet last week.

“I’m kind of disappointed. I was hoping to run a lot faster,” said Farah, who will defend his 5000 and 10000m Olympic titles in Rio in August.

“I felt good at the beginning. Then about mid-race, I kind of felt like, not sluggish, but didn’t quite get moving. It was hard to pick it up.”

Farah will want to back that win up with a victory over the shorter distance on Sunday and dispel the belief his level of performance was slipping following a defeat in the world half marathon in March in Cardiff.

Another of the standout performers at the London Olympics whose chances of defending his title in Rio looked in the balance through no fault of his own Kenya’s 800m champion David Rudisha will compete in the rarely-run 600m.

Rudisha, who produced one of the most memorable Olympic winning performances in London breaking the world record to boot, considers it a vital part of his training programme for Rio.

Whilst Farah was not satisfied with his performance in Eugene another winner that night American Kendra Harrison certainly took the eye as she posted the second fastest time ever in the women’s 100m hurdles.

Her performance was extraordinary as she crossed the line in 12.24sec just 0.03 off the longstanding world record set in 1988 by Bulgarian Yordana Donkova.

She will be seeking to show that was not a one-off performance and will be pushed all the way by Australia’s Olympic champion Sally Pearson and America’s 2013 world champion Brianna Rollins.

Harrison, who failed to win a medal at the world indoors earlier this season despite being favoured to do so in the 60m hurdles, is hoping she doesn’t suffer a reaction to the Eugene outing.

“I’m not sure how I can top this, but I’m sure my coach has a few tricks up his sleeve,” she said.

Whilst the mens’ sprints lack the sort of names to have people pouring through the turnstiles there is an interesting rematch in the 200m between American Trayvon Bromell and Canada’s Andre de Grasse, who were inseparable at last year’s world outdoor final sharing bronze.

Talented young Briton Adam Gemili will compete in the 100m returning to a track which has given him the high point of his career and also one of the lowest.

He recorded his first sub 10-second 100m run at the track but lost out on last year’s outdoor world championships when he suffered a hamstring injury.

The women’s 800m threatens to be a cracker of a race featuring all three medallists from last year’s world outdoor championships.

Champion Maria Arzamasova of Belarus, Canada’s silver medallist Melissa Bishop and Kenya’s bronze medallist Eunice Sum, who won the world title in 2013, all renew their rivalry.

Sum has been in great shape this season recording personal bests at both the Diamond League meetings in Doha and then Rabat.

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