International Athletics

Farah wants family in Rio despite Zika threat

2016-02-20 13:30
Mo Farah (AP)

London - British distance-running star Mo Farah has insisted he wants his family with him when he defends his Olympic titles in Brazil later this year, despite the threat of the Zika virus.

Farah won gold in both the Olympic 5 000m and 10 000m in front of his home crowd in London four years ago and is considered one of Britain's strongest contenders for more medal success in Rio.

One of the personal highlights for Farah of London 2012 was when his wife Tania and step-daughter Rhianna joined him on the track to help him celebrate soon after had won the 10 000m.

Farah would love to enjoy a similar experience in Rio and, speaking in Glasgow on Friday ahead of the Indoor Grand Prix there on Saturday, he said: "For me, the Olympics is where it is at. I want to have that moment for my family no matter what.

"I'm quite excited. In London one of the best things ever was having my family on the track. Seeing my wife and daughter there was incredible.

"I believe they are part of me and will be there again.

"I'm not even thinking about anything like (the Zika virus). I want them there and that's it."

But whether Farah's rivals from Kenya make it to Rio remains unsure after the east African nation was placed on probation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), who said it was failing to prove it was doing enough to tackle its problems with doping in athletics.

Farah, who during the past year has seen his coach Alberto Salazar have to deny BBC allegations of previously running a doping programme in the United States, said: "It's not a nice thing obviously but certain countries (like Britain) do the right thing," he said. "If they (Kenya) can't follow the rules as a county then you have to set an example.

"For us, British athletes and other countries, we have rules and I wish they (the Kenyans) could follow those rules," added Farah, who has himself not been accused of wrongdoing by the BBC.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has already suspended Russia from global competition because of widespread doping offences.

And IAAF president Sebastian Coe, a former double Olympic 1 500m champion, has said he would be prepared to take similar action against Kenya.

Several of Farah's leading rivals come from Kenya, a country with a long history of producing top-class distance runners, and his path to gold would be eased considerably if the likes of Bitan Karoki, Geoffrey Kamworor and Paul Kipng'etich Tanui weren't in Rio.

"If you don't have Kenya there it makes things easier for me, which is great," said Farah. "But at the same time, you don't want to wish anything like that on anybody who hasn't done anything wrong.

"But as a country they have to follow the rules. If they can't, then tough on them."

Read more on:    mo farah  |  athletics
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