Disappointment as Mo Farah forced out of Games

Mo Farah
Mo Farah

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games have been dealt a blow after Olympic hero Mo Farah pulled out just hours after the spectacular opening ceremony.

The London 2012 icon, who was expected to go for gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metre races, had been hailed as one of the star turns of the competition.

The 31-year-old athlete said: "I have taken the tough decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games.

"The sickness I had two weeks ago was a big setback for me."

Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg admitted Farah's absence was a blow.

He said: ''There's no question we're disappointed that Mo Farah announced he would be withdrawing.

"We're very disappointed for Mo.

"We knew how much he wanted to be here.

''I'm sure there will be some disappointed people but there are plenty of great athletes who are here and will be competing.''

Farah had made good progress on his recovery from a recent illness but has chosen to focus on getting back to full fitness in time for next month's European Championships in Zurich.

His withdrawal comes three days after athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, new mother Jessica Ennis-Hill's heir apparent, was forced out of the competition by a foot injury.

It means long jumper Greg Rutherford, who has himself withdrawn from his last two competitions for fitness reasons after struggling with a knee problem, is the only member of the golden trio from Super Saturday at London 2012 left in the England team.

Farah, who pulled out of his last two races, had been training hard at his altitude base in Font Romeu in the Pyrenees in a bid to be fit for the Games.

He said: ''Training is getting better here in Font Romeu but I need another few weeks to get back to the level I was at in 2012 and 2013.

''I really wanted to add the Commonwealth titles to my Olympic and World championships but the event is coming a few weeks too soon for me as my body is telling me it's not ready to race yet.

''Best wishes to my fellow athletes in Glasgow.''

Team England chef de mission Jan Paterson said: ''It is a real blow for any athlete to miss out on a major championships through injury, but to have fought so hard to regain full fitness and to have to take such a difficult decision at this stage is particularly hard.

''We wish Mo all the very best and hope to see him back to his peak very soon.''

The news comes hours after Glasgow welcomed the world at a Commonwealth Games ceremony featuring humour, music and a major fundraising appeal.

The spectacle at Celtic Park marked the official start of the 20th Games.