Last weekend in Lisbon, Mo Farah broke the European half-marathon record in a time of 59 minutes 32 seconds, beating the previous mark by 20 seconds. But the former record holder, Spaniard Fabian Roncero has claimed that the record is invalid, stating “it is the record for Somalia.”
The Spanish distance runner said: “Although the official lists say that Mo Farah now holds the half-marathon record, for me the 800m European record holder remains Sebastian Coe, the 1500m Fermín Cacho, the 5,000m Dieter Baumann and 10,000m António Pinto,” considering none of Farah’s records from the 1500m to the half marathon, should be claimed as legitimate.
The double Olympic Champion and reigning World 5,000m and 10,000m champion was born in Mogadishu, Somali. At age eight, Farah came to live in England with his father, who was born in London and grew up in Hounslow.
Roncero, now 44 years old, went on to state that he believes “an athlete who was born in Kenya is Kenyan and one born in Somalia is Somali forever, and that is the opinion of the people with whom I speak. Besides, I am convinced that 95% of athletes still feel nationalised by their country of origin.”
The former record holder, who now coaches young athletes in Cantabria, Spain, told Spanish newspaper ‘Marca’ that he believes Farah is a great athlete and African runners are superior to European distance runners. He maintains “I have nothing against Africans. I say what I feel and I will never lie.”