Spaniard Roncero questions Mo Farah’s nationality

MO FARAH has had his nationality called into question by the Spaniard whose European half-marathon record he broke in Lisbon on Sunday.

Mo Farah considers himself British but a Spaniard whose record he beat disagrees. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Mo Farah considers himself British but a Spaniard whose record he beat disagrees. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Fabian Roncero claimed he still considered himself the record holder because Farah set a new “Somalian record”.

Farah won the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon in 59 minutes 32 seconds to take 20 seconds off the mark set by Roncero 14 years ago.

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In an interview with a Spanish news agency Roncero said “what was broken in Lisbon was the Somalian record”.

The double Olympic champion was born in Mogadishu in Somalia before moving to Britain as a child.

Roncero’s comments come in the wake of Farah’s feud with compatriot Andy Vernon. Farah alleged his team-mate suggested he did not deserve the European 10,000 metres title he won last summer as he was not European, claims Vernon branded ‘’complete lies’’.

Roncero, 44, added: “For me, an athlete who was born in Kenya is Kenyan for life and one born in Somalia is Somalian forever.”

Farah, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Monday, has won five global titles in the colours of Great Britain to become arguably the country’s greatest-ever athlete. He has often spoken of his pride at wearing the British vest and says he considers himself to be British. The London 2012 hero was hurt by Vernon’s comments in Zurich last summer, though the latter later said they were meant as a joke.

Roncero also said: “For me the 800m European record holder remains Sebastian Coe, the 1,500m (holder) Fermin Cacho, the 5,000m (holder) Dieter Baumann and the 10,000m (holder) Antonio Pinto.”

In fact Farah holds both the 1,500m and 10,000m marks, while the 5,000m mark is held by Moroccan-born Belgian Mohammed Mourhit.

Farah’s camp declined to comment on Roncero’s remarks.

Meanwhile, The depth of British sprint talent means Richard Kilty knows he faces a tough task just to make the team as he bids to emulate the achievements of his coach Linford Christie.

Kilty, the world and European indoor 60 metres champion, has next year’s Rio Olympics in his sights – today marks 500 days until the Games open – and lofty targets. The 25-year-old from Stockton on Tees is first hoping to emulate 1992 Olympic gold medallist Christie, the 100m British record holder in 9.87 seconds, by breaking the 10-second barrier.

That elite group also includes current team-mates and rivals James Dasaolu, who has run 9.91secs, and Chijindu Ujah (9.96s), while the likes of Adam Gemili, another of Britain’s batch of young sprint stars, are also closing in on the mark.

Kilty, whose best is 10.10 secs, said: “The golden generation of British sprinting is here now.

“If you can make the team for Great Britain, you’ve got every chance of getting a medal at a major championships. It’s stressful even trying to make the team. If you qualify, you’re in for a shot against the Jamaicans, Americans. We’ve proved that we’re getting towards their level now.

“We’ve never had this many guys capable of winning medals. We’ve got at least four, five, possibly even seven guys who are potentially medallists. It’s never been like that before. It keeps you on your toes. There’s definitely the talent and the drive to go and do that. We’ve never run this quickly in the relay as consistently before. GB is in the best position it’s ever been now.”