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Farah Looks to Glasgow

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Hannah England and Mo Farah

 

28 January 2012

World Champion distance runner Mo Farah has labelled his 1500m foray at today’s Aviva International Match a “vital step” to taking Olympic gold at the London Games in six months’ time.

Twenty-eight-year-old Farah, who took 5000m gold and 10,000m silver at the World Championships in Daegu last summer, will embark on his first ever outing over the shorter distance in an Aviva GB & NI vest, in an effort to improve his speed in time for the Games.

The event at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall, which will see the Aviva GB & NI Team perform on home soil for the last time before London, will also signify Farah’s first return to the scene of his 2009 triumph, when he broke the British 3000m record and set a new personal best time of 7:40.99.

Farah will be out for a repeat performance at Kelvin Hall, where he hopes to receive a rousing send-off from the sell-out Glasgow crowd as his Olympic journey begins in earnest.

Farah, who lines up against the fastest man on the planet over 1500m indoors in 2011, Augustine Choge, said: “The Aviva International Match is a great event and I'm delighted to be here. The event is historically very strong and this year is going to be no different.

“It was my coach Alberto Salazar’s idea to race the shorter distance this weekend as he thinks it will help me to improve my speed and that could be really vital this summer.

“We’re very aware the Olympics could boil down to one final sprint for the line so it’s essential I get the speed work into my legs now.

“I'm feeling really good about the meet and I'm feeling fit, so I think it’s going to be a really exciting race. Hopefully everyone in the crowd can cheer me on to victory.”

Joining Farah at the opening Aviva Series meet of the year is fellow World Championships medallist Hannah England.

The 24-year-old, who took her first major championships medal with 1500m silver in Daegu, is another athlete high on confidence after a whirlwind 12 months and is determined to keep up the momentum first in Glasgow, then in London this summer.

“The silver medal has given me so much confidence, I really do believe in myself now and I'm ready to push on,” said England.

“It’s unbelievable to go from 10th in Europe to second in the world, I can’t really believe it.

“I’ve just got back from training in Kenya and I could feel it over there. In the past I’ve never dealt well with altitude, but this time I had trust in my body and that when I returned, I was going to run faster than ever.”

Making a staggering seventh appearance at the event is track legend and dual World Championships bronze medallist sprinter Kim Collins.

Former World Champion Collins, who hails from the tiny island of St Kitts and Nevis, will captain the Commonwealth Select side against the USA, Germany, Russia and Farah and England’s Aviva GB & NI Team.

And the 35-year-old, who made a record-breaking ninth appearance at the World Championships in Daegu last summer, is determined to add the Aviva International Match trophy to his list of career accolades.

He said: “I’ve told the guys they have to win it. I want that trophy. They’ve got nothing to fear so should just go out there and give it their all.

“A lot of athletes lose a race before they even get out there by not believing in themselves, but I'm going to make sure that isn’t the case for my team.”

Meanwhile, Danielle Carruthers, who will captain the USA team, is determined to use the meet as a springboard to eclipsing sprint hurdle dynamo Sally Pearson as the world No. 1.

She said: “I love competing here in the UK as everyone is so knowledgeable about the sport and luckily enough, I also seem to do well here.

“Sally’s running brilliantly at the moment, but if I do what I know I can, then who knows.”

The Aviva International Match will be shown live on BBC 1 from 1:30pm.