It should be Britain’s Mo Farah versus the Ethiopians for Olympic gold, according to Haile Gebrselassie Ethiopia’s two-time Olympic 10,000m champion.
Farah is on the start list alongside Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, the world and Olympic record holder in the 5,000m and 10,000m who has been injured this year, for tonight’s 10,000m final.
On who would be favourite, Gebrselassie said: “It all depends on preparation. Mo will come but the race will be between Bekele and Mo Farah.”
Farah caught the Ethiopians off guard when he charged to victory to claim the world 5,000m.
Gebrselassie is impressed with the British medal hope who nearly pulled off the 5,000m and 10,000m double at World Championships.
Farah’s recent progress has been “amazing - especially last year”.
”Even this year. He is amazing,” Gebrselassie said.
It means that both the 5,000m and 10,000m at London 2012 will be “a very attractive race, I believe,” according to Gebrselassie.
Farah is under a lot of pressure but has spent most of his time in the United States where he has been able to train away from the spotlight.
The Ethiopians can work as a team against him.
Farah has “a very good coach” in Alberto Salazar and a training programme that is very smart both in terms of Farah’s physical
preparation but also for his tactical approach to racing.
His versatility is a strength and he can take on so many different tactics without letting it affect him.
Gebrselassie suggested: “The weaknesses from Ethiopia and Kenya, he knows very well.
”His training depends on our weakness, not our strength and that is smart.
”The Ethiopians and the Kenyans always attack on the last lap.
”Mo Farah has started attacking from before, from about 600m and 800m and that is a very smart idea.
”How can you better adjust to your opponent - it is from the side of his weakness and not his strength.
”If you try to pit your opponent from his strengths, it is like a kind of sacrifice. It is hard.
”Knowing about his (your opponent’s) strength is a priority but after that you also have to seriously know about his weakness.”
Ethiopia has such strength in depth that a heartbroken Gebrselassie did not make it on to the team for London 2012.
To adds to Farah’s challenge is the fact they like to work as a team.
Gebrselassie notes: “It is really a big challenge to try to beat Bekele.
”The Ethiopians work as a team. Mo, he works for himself.”
If it came down to the last 100m and a sprint finish then it will still be a close-run thing.
Gebrselassie said: “I think it will be Bekele because he has a more frequent stride - but even in 100m it is difficult to say.”
By Helen William