Lagat aims to crush Farah dreams

  • By: Chris Hammer
  • Last Updated: July 17 2012, 22:30 BST

Bernard Lagat is aiming to do to Mo Farah at the Olympics what Roger Federer did to Andy Murray at Wimbledon and crush the dreams of the home favourite.

  • Lagat: Hoping to get the better of Farah
  • Farah: Was impressive at Crystal Palace 

The American veteran will once again be a major rival to Farah over 5000 metres next month having taken silver behind Team GB's long distance star at last year's World Championships in Daegu.

Farah is regarded as one of the host nation's best hopes for an athletics gold medal at London 2012 and Lagat believes he'll feel the same kind of expectation that Britain's number one tennis player faced in the build-up to the Wimbledon final.

While Murray had the vast majority of support from the Centre Court crowd as they sensed a first home male singles champion at SW19 since 1936, it was a majestic Federer who came out on top, leaving the Scot and many of his supporters in tears.

Lagat, who won world indoor gold over 3000m earlier this year when Farah could only finish fourth, said: "I'm going to have a few people cheering for me but I know it's going to be a big disappointment if he doesn't win - just like what we saw with Andy Murray against Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

"I'm sure a lot of people were disappointed and some of them were almost crying. There's always a lot of emotion when someone gets so close to winning something.

"The whole country will be cheering for Mo like they were cheering for Andy Murray, but guess what, he was beaten by Federer.

"And that's exactly what I want - to win. If I end up winning I know he'll congratulate me but he'll be very disappointed."

At 37, Lagat still remains one of the world's top performers but he's had to focus on speed work this season by entering shorter races in order to try and prepare for Farah's finishing kick.

He competed over a mile at last weekend's Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace and although he was content with his time of 3:54.17, Farah's impressive winning performance in the 5000m set some alarm bells ringing.

The 2007 world champion over 1500m and 5000m, who is chasing his first Olympic gold having previously won a silver and bronze in Athens and Sydney respectively when representing Kenya, said: "I will need more speed to beat Mo Farah.

"I watched him at Crystal Palace on my tele doing the 5000m and I timed the last 600m at one minute 25 seconds. I did the first 600m of my mile in 1:25 and he closed his race after doing so many laps in the same time.

"In order to beat him I need better speed - and that's what I've been working on and will continue to do so when I go back to training in Stuttgart.

"My season has all been geared towards dealing with the speed that most of the competitors, including Mo, have right now. I lost at the American trials not because I hadn't trained enough but because the speed was not there.

"When I'm in the Olympic final and the bell rings, the speed will be the difference between getting a medal and getting close to the medal. And just getting close to the medal isn't what I want."