Sydney 2000 gold medalist Denise Lewis supports Mo Farah to win his race against time and secure a spot on the Team GB roster for the Summer Olympics.
Four-time Olympic champion Farah – who is already the most successful British athlete in the history of the modern games – is applying for her fourth appearance on the biggest stage in sport at the age of 38.
His plans suffered a major setback earlier this month when he finished eighth in the 10,000m European Cup in Birmingham, 22 seconds behind the 27:28 standard required to qualify for Tokyo.
The British Athletics Championships in Manchester in late June will give Farah another chance to book his seat on the plane, and three-time Olympic heptathlete Lewis believes he will already have ambitions beyond squad selection.
“If you’ve produced what Mo has been doing for the last decade or so, he’d be very disappointed if you couldn’t,” said Lewis, who works with Purplebricks to encourage the nation to get behind Team GB to put trip to Tokyo.
“Everyone loves to see the names you know when you get on a plane and represent the country.
“If you’ve done it as often as Mo, everything is less of a disappointment. You can’t lie, you can’t mask it. But I think people take things for granted after a while. When you’re a champion and a winner, it takes a lot to be that person again.
“Mo is determined and wants to go back to these heights. He will work hard for it and that is all you can expect and ask of an athlete. You will give everything. “
Heptathlon World Champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s Olympic prospects are also unclear, as the Liverpudlian has received a medical exemption due to an Achilles tendon problem in order to miss the British Olympic exams.
But Lewis – who went wild to gold even after an interrupted prep period in Australia – believes Johnson-Thompson can mirror her own journey from injury desperation to glory of the Games.
“Her score suggests that she is one of the best heptathletes in the world. If she comes out on the track relatively healthy, she can do it well, ”she said.
“I know the lack of preparation – I remember not doing much before Sydney. It just takes a different kind of mental strength and attitude, and I think Kat has proven she can. “
One British athlete who is likely to fight for medals is the 200-meter world champion Dina Asher-Smith, who signaled her intentions with a win over the distance in a season best of 22.06 seconds at the Diamond League meeting in Florence, after doing twice in the 100m earlier in the season.
Lewis added, “Dina always impresses – she always seems to be in top shape.
“She won in Doha and is expected to win again. It won’t be easy if Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce looks strong too, but I think we’ve seen mentally that she has all the tools in her back pocket to deal with it. “
Purplebricks is working with communities, athletes and local artists to create memorial murals for Team GB and encourage the nation to show support and stand behind the athletes at the Tokyo Olympics. Visit @PurplebricksUK or https://www.purplebricks.co.uk/team-gb