Sir Mo Farah’s hopes of an Olympic swansong were left in tatters after he was beaten over 10,000 metres for the first time in a decade.
The four-time Olympic champion trailed in eighth at the University of Birmingham last night, more than 20 seconds outside the qualifying time required to get him to Tokyo.
He later revealed he had suffered a left ankle injury training at altitude in Arizona a fortnight ago.
Marc Scott, who dared to suggest beforehand that Farah’s aura had gone, took the British title to stamp his ticket to Tokyo.
But Farah could manage no better than 27 minutes 50.54 seconds and now needs a miracle to get the 27:28 time he requires to stand any chance of a wild card pick.
Sir Mo said: “The last 10 days haven’t been great. This is the first bit of track I’ve done.
“It would have been easy not to show but it was important I came out. I am four-times Olympic champion but that doesn’t mean nothing.
“You’ve got to go out there each race and give yourself a chance. I dug in deep but with 15 laps to go, you know my face, I was hurting hard.”
Farah, the champion of London and Rio, has three weeks until the deadline and little-known rival Sam Atkin, who did not race in Brum, already has the qualifying time.
The Londoner’s previous defeat over 25 laps had come at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu – a disappointment that drove him to dominate the event for the next decade.
Now 38, and having not raced over the distance since winning the world title in London, he had appeared vulnerable to his rivals and Scott wasn’t afraid to say so.
In the event neither had the legs to challenge European champion Morhad Amdouni, who won the European Cup event running concurrently with the British trial in 27:23.27.
With Farah having said that Tokyo would be his final championship before retirement, this may well be the last we see of Britain’s most decorated athlete.
“The race wasn’t perfect by any means,” said Scott, seventh overall. “But, look, the one goal I came in to do. I successfully did. I won the British race and that’s the main thing tonight, to get on the plane.”
Farah’s disappointment contrasted with the elation felt by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at becoming the second fastest woman of all time over 100 metres at a meeting in Jamaica.
Nine years after her previous fastest time and 13 since her first Olympic title in Beijing, the mother of one clocked 10.63 seconds in Kingston – a time bettered only by the late, and controversial, Florence Griffiths-Joyner (10.49).
“If I’m able to run 10.6 now… I’m just looking forward to what the process will bring,” she warned ominously.
Back at Birmingham, Eilish McColgan scored an emotional victory in the woman’s race to book her place at the Olympics 30 years after her mum Liz won the world 10,000m title in Tokyo.
McColgan timed her run to perfection to snatch the win on the line in 31:19.21, with Jess Judd grabbing the second place on the plane by also achieving the qualifying time (31:19.35).
Liz tweeted: “Championship racing is a different ball game, never a given to qualify for the Olympics. But you turn up race and get the job done well done to @EilishMccolgan and @jessjudd. Box ticked.”