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Thompson backing for Farah: Inspirational Mo has mental toughness to shine

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Backing: Mo Farah (left) and Chris Thompson (right) will fly the flag for Britain

Mo Farah has the mental strength to deal with the overwhelming pressure of expectation at the London Olympics, according to team-mate Chris Thompson.

The 29-year-old will go into the home Games this summer as the world champion over 5,000 metres and silver medallist over 10,000m and one of Great Britain's best hopes for gold on the track.

Thompson took 10,000m silver behind Farah at the European Championships in 2010 and, having known the Somalia-born Londoner from when the pair competed together as juniors, is well placed to assess his Olympic hopes.

Farah endured a difficult indoor season as he could only finish fourth over 3,000m at the World Indoor Championships in March, but Thompson has backed him to rise to the challenge in London.

'Anyone in any profession acknowledges the difficult second series, defending titles, anything like that is always harder because there is an expectation there,' said Thompson, speaking from his training base in Oregon.

'But Mo is an excellent athlete mentally. He rises to challenges, he's someone who is very determined. He's not an athlete who's frightened of failure, he looks to succeed and that's the kind of thing you have to do.

'You're not going to go to the World Championships in Daegu the year before the Olympics and deliberately not win because you don't want to have everyone looking at you.
'You want to develop yourself to be an athlete who wins things and then you can say, "I'm the man to beat, come and get me".

'In my opinion it's always going to be difficult to back up a success like that, but he was second in Daegu over 10,000m and, because it wasn't double gold, there still is something to improve on. That will help him, it means he's not trying to repeat perfection.'

Thompson himself already has the Olympic 'A' standards over 5,000m and 10,000m, the former thanks to a run of 13 minutes 15.21 seconds in California last month.

Provided things go to plan at the Aviva 2012 Trials in June, the 31-year-old will race over both distances in London.
The longer distance will be the priority and he will use Farah's achievements as an inspiration as he eyes a top-six finish - and maybe more.

'What the guy did last year was inspirational, awesome and it proved to a lot of us British guys that with hard work and commitment you can achieve what a lot of people say is impossible,' Thompson said.

Thompson knows more than most about hard work, having battled back from five years of injury problems from 2004 which left him on the brink of retirement to win European silver.

He suffered another setback last year when he missed the World Championships because of an Achilles problem and a hernia, but his current form and fitness have given him confidence he can go into the Olympics in the best shape of his life.


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