Jackson backs 'wiser' Farah


World 5,000m champion Farah admitted he had lost his air of invincibility after suffering defeat to arch rival Bernard Lagat in the 3,000m at the World Indoor Championships in Turkey in March.

The 29-year-old, now training in Oregon, USA, in a bid to escape the growing pressure of double 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic glory, was adamant he was still on course to achieve his summer targets – and Jackson believes the double 2010 European champion could be the first British track athlete to top the podium.

“Looking at the timetable, he can definitely win our first gold medal on the track," said Jackson, who sat alongside the Duchess of Cambridge as she and husband Prince William attended Team GB's official launch party, dubbed Our Greatest Time Rises, at the Royal Albert Hall.

"When you have the speed that Mo does now, and can confidently go out and demonstrate it, coupled with the endurance that he demonstrated last season, he can absolutely go out and give it to the rest of the world.

“Mo is a wiser, more sensible man now. When you are younger, you learn as you go along. Like any trade, you learn as you mature.

“His brain is now his main obstacle to overcome in order to win the gold. When he gets on the track he has got to really believe that he can win it, and not just say ‘I hope I can win a gold medal’, but really deep down believe he can win the gold because his opponents are tough. None of them are going to give him an easy ride.

“Likewise, the pressure of being an Olympic medal contender shouldn’t have any effect on him now. He has too much grit and determination for that to happen.

“So Mo is certainly coming into the right time in his career now where he now knows what he is capable of producing, he knows his opponents very well indeed, and I think he has now learned how to maintain his focus during a race. As long as he does that, he is absolutely fine.”

Farah’s 5,000m and 10,000m personal bests were both recorded last year in a breakthrough season in which he fulfilled his potential by securing the 5,000m world title just days after finishing an agonising second in the 10,000m.

He admitted he learnt from that painful defeat and exercised astute race tactics to surge down the finishing straight with American Lagat flailing behind – although Jackson, a 1988 Seoul Games 110m silver medallist and double world champion, believes Farah's rivals could devise a plan to prevent him winning a maiden Olympic medal.

“Unfortunately for Mo he will most probably be the sole British athlete who can hang with that type of pace. He is on his own, while the others like the Kenyans and the Ethiopians will certainly have a team of people around them which will makes things very comfortable for them,” Jackson added.

“But we hope that he can win the gold. For track running, he is very much in his peak now, although you can never say you will win because you just can’t. His opponents are just too strong. It is impossible to just write off all of his rivals.

“But the most important thing for Mo is to be in great shape. If he is, he will deliver a great performance. If he hasn’t got the good shape, then he could struggle a little bit.”

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