Turner faces a needle as Farah makes his point
For Mo Farah, another test of sharpness awaits. For Andy Turner, an MRI scan and the sharp point of a needle beckons.
Having overcome his first metaphorical hurdle of Olympic year with flying colours, outsprinting the Beijing Olympic metric mile finalist Augustine Choge to win a humdinger of a 1500m duel in the Aviva International Match at Kelvin Hall on Saturday gone, Farah moves on to Boston for another examination of his basic speed. On Saturday coming he will run in an indoor mile race featuring two world indoor 1500m medallists from Kenya, Daniel Kipchirchir Komen and Haran Keitany.
On the evidence of a teeth-gritting run that earned him victory and a stadium record of 3 min 39.03 sec, the golden boy of British athletics – the world 5,000m champion – has his Midas touch intact, six months out from the London Olympics. On the evidence of Turner's last-placed finish in the 60m hurdles, and the pronounced limp with which he left the arena, the bronze boy is in urgent need of repair as he seeks to repeat the form that got him on the podium at the World Championships in Daegu last August.
"I've got a hospital appointment first thing Monday morning for an MRI scan, and then hopefully another injection to help the problem," Turner said yesterday. "It's an achilles tendon thing I've had for a while that just flares up. Last year the doctors gave me an injection and sorted it. I had the same injection a week past Friday and it hasn't cleared it up. Every time I land off the hurdle I can feel it. Every step is painful.
"I'm 31 and my body is falling apart. First thing in the morning I'm walking down the stairs sideways. As long as I can get the treatment I need to run pain-free, then everything will be fine. I haven't got time to let it heal by itself. I need someone to fix it."
The indoor season looks to be over for Turner but with the track and field programme at the London Olympics still six months away, Charles van Commenee, the head coach of UK Athletics, said: "It's not the end of the world for Andy. There's time for him to come back from this."
Metaphorically at least, Farah would appear to have no achilles heel as he prepares to challenge for the Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m crowns. It could only bode well that after five weeks of high-mileage training in Kenya the Londoner found the sharpness that put Choge to the sword – in the process threatening to raise the rafters in the final top-class indoor meeting to be held at the 3,500 capacity, sold-out Kelvin Hall.
"I've never experienced a noise like that," Farah said. "I can't imagine what it will be like in London. It was a good test, a good battle."
It was that, helping to seal victory for the Great Britain team in a contest against Russia, Germany, a Commonwealth Select squad and the United States. "What a race!" Van Commenee said. "It's very pleasing to see a world champion over 5,000m beating one of the best athletes over 1500m.
"That's very encouraging. Mo wouldn't be beaten. He kept fighting. It seems he always has another gear. All athletes have that calibre to fight but not all have the engine. He's the world champion. There are not any weaknesses. I think last year in Daegu he was slightly taken by surprise in the 10,000m [when the unheralded Ethiopian Ibrahim Jeilan swept past to win in the home straight] but he's been warned. Now he's a complete athlete."
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