GLASGOW 2014 NEEDS THE RIGHT MO-TIVATION
With the clock ticking and the excitement building, in the preparations for Glasgow 2014, I was disappointed this week to learn that Mo Farah is unlikely to make the Games. As one of British Athletics biggest attractions, this revelation was a major blow to Games organisers, keen to ensure that the biggest names in the business, were competing in Glasgow next year. Mo is capable of true greatness on the athletics track and is truly a world class athlete. The news will also prove disappointing to all those fans who were hoping to see Mo, and his now famous pose, up close. I heard a Radio interview with the great man this week , in which he did not rule out the possibility of competing in Glasgow next year, although he did point out that Glasgow 2014 was not in his plans at the moment.
Mo left his home in Somalia, for a new life in Britain, when he was only eight-years-old. His first love was football but he quickly showed his aptitude on the track. As a youngster, he ran for Newham & Essex Eagles running club. The club, and British Athletics worked hard with the young Mo, to develop his potential and fine tune his natural talent. Over those early years, he began to show signs that all of the training and investment provided to him, was paying dividends. With this support, and through sheer hard work and dedication, Mo became one of the World's finest distance runners. He won Olympic Gold, in London last year, both at 5000 Metres and at 10,000. Earlier this year, he won another double Gold, at the World Championships in Russia, at the same distance. He is a huge draw and a source of great inspiration to so many.
Like all outstanding sports stars across the World, as an elite athlete, Mo deserves the acclaim and riches that such recognition brings. This year he was awarded the CBE in the Honours List. His personal wealth has been estimated at some £7million and he has recently signed with the American company, Octagon, who will now be responsible for the commercial development of "Brand Mo". America is now his home and lucrative contracts with Virgin Media, Louis Vuitton and Hyundai will catapult him into the big league, with earnings of some £3-£4m per year, at least for the foreseeable future. As a consequence, Mo is now in transition from track athletics to marathon running. Marathon running commands bigger appearance fees and will increase his sponsorship and commercial potential, particularly in America.
Earlier this year, Mo was criticised by fellow athletes Steve Cram and Paula Ratcliffe, for running only half of the London Marathon, commanding a £250,000 fee, for his rather shortened appearance. Next year, if he completes the full distance, his fee will be a whopping £500,000. His absence then from Glasgow 2014 may prove as understandable, as it is regrettable. Like others, I feel somewhat let down by Mo. He inspired us by running with such joy yet now finds himself running from criticism. To his credit, he has established the Mo Farah Foundation, which offers educational, medical and food assistance to Somalia. How though, has he repaid the debt which he so surely owes to British Athletics?
One way, would be to make sure that he competes at next year's Commonwealth Games. If he has swapped the track for the marathon, then that's fine. He doesn't have to win, he doesn't need to do a great deal, he just needs to be here. Mo is perfectly entitled to enjoy that which he has accomplished, rather than focusing upon that which is left to do. Glasgow 2014, countless thousands of young athletes and British Athletics would however, benefit hugely from his presence at the Games. If he has the desire to provide for a legacy that may live on, long after his footprints have faded, then he will be here.
He will be here in a way that offers a clear message to the world that he will never forget where his journey began. Here, in a way that celebrates all those who helped him throughout that long journey. He will be here, to inspire a new generation of British Athletes to even greater heights at Glasgow 2014, now that, would be true greatness.
POLICING THE POLICE
This week, the accusations of what Andrew Mitchell, former Conservative Chief Whip, did or didn't say in the infamous "Plebgate" row, took a new twist.
Prime Minister, David Cameron and Home Secretary, Theresa May, both called upon officers of the Police Federation to say sorry to Mr Mitchell for misrepresenting their account of a meeting with him.
The deputy chair of the IPCC, the Independent Police Complaints Commission went further, saying it should now face disciplinary action. Odd, since the IPCC had asked the three police forces, to investigate their own three officers.
After a number of high-profile failings, two things are clear, the IPCC is not fit for purpose, and the police should not be allowed to investigate, the police.