Paula Radcliffe backs Team GB's Mo Farah to win gold double


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The Independent Online

Paula Radcliffe says that Mo Farah can win his second gold medal tomorrow night before his wife, Tania gives birth.

Farah already has a gold to his name after a stunning victory in the 10,000m last Saturday but, after that triple golden night for Britain when Greg Rutherford and Jessica Ennis also won, Britain has not grabbed any more gold inside the Olympic Stadium.

But Radcliffe is confident that her sometime training partner, who looked laboured in Wednesday’s heats, will recover in time for double gold.

“It would be a dream come true for Mo if he won twin gold before the twins arrive,” Radcliffe told Standard Sport. “Hopefully Tania [his wife] can watch the action without giving birth!”

At last year’s World Championships, Farah took silver in the 10,000m and then returned to the track in Daegu, South Korea, to win gold in the 5,000m seven days later.

“To bounce back from that in the 5k is very, very difficult but he has shown us that he can do it,” said Radcliffe.

The Olympic schedule mirrors that of the worlds for the two long-distance races and, having already won medals in both in Daegu, Radcliffe believes Farah can go one better.

Farah has talked of wanting to do the double all year but admitted all along that he had no idea whether his body was capable of being up to the rigours of it despite doing nearly 120 miles of training a week to prepare under American coach Alberto Salazar.

After he could only finish third in his 5,000m heat, there were suggestions in some quarters that he was too fatigued to be able to double up but, with three-and-a-half days between heats and finals, Radcliffe has no concerns.“I’m sure he’ll be okay and he’ll do it. In the heats he was obviously shattered. So often Mo makes it look so easy that people don’t understand how hard it is to run both.

“He’d won the gold and it wasn’t like it was an anti-climax after it but it’s hard after all that atmosphere in the stadium and the adrenalin. It’s difficult as I’m sure for him winning that gold was a huge sense of relief.”

Radcliffe will be in the stands to watch Farah, with whom she trained in Font-Romeu, France, as she put together her own Olympic preparations.

But the 38-year-old, who had qualified for the marathon, was forced to pull out with the recurrence of a foot injury which will require surgery.

However, she said she was still relishing the Olympic experience through Farah and the other British athletes in action.

“It’s difficult to be here watching when I wanted to be a part of it,” she said. “For me the hardest bit was the women’s marathon.”

Radcliffe believes the support of Farah’s friends and family will be vital in the remaining 24 hours to his second Olympic final of these Games.

“We’re a tight-knit group in Font-Romeu and we’ve all been through a lot together,” she said.

“There’s me and Hannah England, who both experienced injuries, and then Mo. Also, Mo’s family are very important. They help him be grounded.

“Mine are the same. When I sat my daughter Isla down to tell her Mummy wouldn’t doing her big race as we can’t get Mummy’s foot better, she got down and kissed it. I explained that wouldn’t work so she suggested I go cycling or swimming!”

Farah’s big race looms large as arguably the last realistic opportunity for a British gold in front of the 80,000-strong crowd at London’s Olympic Stadium.

He likened his own heat to stepping into the boxing ring. “It was really tough like being in the ring with Anthony Ogogo,” he said. “It was rough but I managed to get through. I’m definitely a target now because I am the Olympic champion over 10,000m.”

Farah will not mind being a moving target in the final and nor will the crowd but, against a field rich in world-class Africans, he and Radcliffe know he will need to be at his best.

Paula Radcliffe was speaking through the P&G nearest and dearest programme, a programme designed to support the family and friends of athletes before and during the London 2012 Olympic Games