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Long-distance supremo Farah pays tribute to sprint legend Bolt

Friday, June 09, 2017

Britain's most successful athlete Mo Farah has compared Usain Bolt to Manchester United's greatest manager Alex Ferguson as he paid tribute at a JN Racers Grand Prix press conference yesterday.

Farah, who is a close friend of Bolt, said when the legend retires that is when people will miss him most.

“We might not see it, but just like in football, they talk about Alex Ferguson and what he has done for Man(chester) United. People appreciate him now only when he is gone,” Farah pointed out.

Farah, 34, who was born in Somalia, has won nine senior global championship medals, inclusive of four Olympic titles, five World titles in the 5,000m and 10,000 events.

“I wanted to play football; I was good at football, then I tried the 1,500m and the result wasn't so great. Then as I got older, I tried the 5,000m, then the 10,000m,” he noted.

The rest, as they say, is history. Farah has gone on to become the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history. He is the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medallist in both the 5,000m and 10,000m, and is the second athlete in modern Olympic Games history, after Lasse Viren of Finland, to successfully defend both titles.

Farah also completed the 'distance double' at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships and is the second man in history after the great Kenenisa Bekele to win long-distance doubles at successive Olympics and World Championships. He is also the first in history to defend both distance titles in both major global competitions.

“It's tough, it's hard, but if you want to be the best, you have to train hard,” said Farah when quizzed about the gruelling double distance races which he wins with such ease.

“We are lucky to have Usain, he showed us the path, he showed us what is possible. He showed how to enjoy and make the most of it and have fun,” he added.

Farah will compete in the 3,000m at the JN Racers Grand Prix tomorrow.

Farah will line up against 10 other runners: Kemoy Campbell, Alfred Barkach, Collins Cheboi and Nixon Chepseba of Kenya; Americans Roy Hunter and Jordon McNamara, Australian duo of Pat Tiernan and Sam McEntree and Bashir Abdi of Belgium.

Bolt and Farah became close friends by having the same agent in Ricky Simms, and on a number of occasions, pose with each other's signature celebrations after victories.

The most iconic moment came at the 2012 London Olympics when the pair returned to the track after the completion of the athletics programme and, one by one, jumped onto the podium. Bolt did Farah's Mobot celebration, cupping his hands together on his head in the shape of the letter M, then Farah did Bolt's famous 'Lightning Bolt' pose.

— Howard Walker