Mo Farah has already achieved a double double. His second this summer could be infinitely harder.
The Olympic and world champion at the 5,000m and 10,000m has been selected to attempt that double gold at the Commonwealth Games. As of today, he will also attempt the distance double act at the European Championships.
That would equate to winning an unprecedented four gold medals in the space of just 20 days at Glasgow and Zurich should he pull off the feat, or in fact even attempt it.
Farah’s build-up to the Commonwealth Games has been far from perfect having been hospitalised with an unspecified illness, the details of which have still not been revealed but from which he has now fully recovered.
Quite what impact that will have on his attempts for a golden summer with the missed training it entailed are unknown, Farah’s first acid test is set to be an intensive run on Wednesday after which he is expected to make a decision over his appearance at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games in London on Sunday.
Running in the capital – where he had been scheduled to compete in a two-mile race – seems the least likely of the three events that he will now attempt this summer, and the sensible choice could potentially be for him to attempt just one event at each of the Commonwealths and the Europeans. For now, though, Farah’s plan is that the double double remains a distinct possibility.
Following the announcement of the 74-strong Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the Europeans, the British Athletics performance director, Neil Black, said: “We’ve got to give him a little bit of time to make sure he gets back to full training. Mo wants to compete, he loves competing. He was so looking forward to this summer, he’s had a challenge to deal with but he’s healthy, he’s looking forward.
“Obviously it’s impossible for him to be 100 per cent sure that he will be able to do everything in his plans. I know Mo very well and if there wasn’t anything that he was certain to do he would have told us up front. We’re waiting to see how he responds to training before he makes any confirmed decisions. But Mo is a tough guy, he’s incredibly optimistic and we’re equally optimistic. He’s just feeling so good. We really don’t have any concerns with him.”
The main decision over the Europeans for the selectors to make concerned the third and final 100m spot on the team. Dwain Chambers and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, both with the qualifying time, had booked their places by finishing first and second at the trials and the remaining selection was a shoot-out between James Dasaolu and Chijindu Ujah, with Dasaolu getting the nod.
That results in the team leaving out a 9.96-second man, Ujah having become the fifth Briton to go under the 10-second barrier earlier this season, although he has the scant consolation of being in the 4x100m relay line-up.
Following Dasaolu’s two runs at Lausanne and Glasgow, Black admitted the decision had effectively become a no-brainer. “We obviously discussed it appropriately at the selection meeting but James with two 10.03 performances in the last eight days… was very deserving of the third spot.”
Christine Ohuruogu makes a surprise return in the 400m individual event. The current world champion had announced at the start of the season plans to treat this year as only a partial season, focusing predominantly on the relays in order to allow her body to recover for an onslaught on next year’s World Championships as well as the 2016 Olympics.
But the Londoner informed British Athletics officials of her U-turn and asked to be considered for European selection. “Christine said she’d really like to give this a shot saying ‘I want to have a go at this event’,” added Black. “The last thing I was going to do was to say ‘I don’t think you should do it’.”
The former Olympic champion’s selection is dependent on her achieving the required qualifying time by the 3 August deadline, along with Dai Greene, who was selected under rule 10c of the selection criteria despite failing to achieve the qualifying time over fellow Welshman and defending European 400m hurdles champion Rhys Williams.
GB & NI European Championships Team; 12-17 August
100m H Aikines-Aryeetey; D Chambers; J Dasaolu
200m J Ellington; A Gemili; D Talbot
400m M Hudson-Smith; M Rooney; C Williams
800m A Osagie; M Rimmer
1,500m C Grice; C O’Hare; J Wightman
5,000m M Farah; T Farrell; A Vernon
10,000m Farah; C Thompson; Vernon
3,000m steeplechase J Wilkinson
110m hurdles W Sharman; L Clarke; A Turner
400m hurdles N Flannery; T Burton; D Greene
High jump C Baker
Long jump JJ Jegede; G Rutherford; C Tomlinson
Triple jump P Idowu; J Reid
Pole vault S Lewis; L Cutts; J Thoirs
Decathlon A Bryant
20k walk T Bosworth
4 x 100m Aikines-Aryeetey, Chambers, Dasaolu, Ellington, Talbot, Gemili, R Kilty, C Ujah
4 x 400m M Bingham, M Hudson-Smith, N Levine, Rooney, C Williams, R Yousif
100m A Philip, A Nelson, D Henry
200m D Asher-Smith, B Williams, J Williams
400m C Ohuruogu
800m J Judd, A Leonard, L Sharp
1,500m H England, L Muir, L Weightman
5,000m J Bleasdale, E Gorecka, J Pavey
10,000m Pavey, B Potter, Bleasdale
100m hurdles T Porter
400m hurdles M Beesley, E Child
High jump M Lake
Long jump K Johnson-Thompson, S Proctor
Hammer S Hitchon
Javelin G Sayers
4 x 100m L Bloor, Henry, Nelson, A Onuora, S Papps, A Philip, B Williams, J Williams
4 x 400m M Adeoye, Child, S Cox, K Massey, E Diamond, Ohuruogu, V Ohuruogu, J Williams