Mo Farah out of Great Edinburgh Cross Country through illness

Mo Farah
Mo Farah also pulled out of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow through illness

Mo Farah has withdrawn from the Great Edinburgh Cross Country international challenge race because of illness.

The Olympic and world champion over 5,000m and 10,000m was due to compete for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, who face the United States and Europe, at Saturday's event in Holyrood Park.

Farah said: "Unfortunately, I have to cancel my participation as I had the flu over Christmas and New Year."

He said he had "to take some days off training".

Farah pulled out of last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to recover from illness ahead of winning double gold at the European Championships.

The 31-year-old Englishman said in November that his American coach, Alberto Salazar, viewed cross country as an important part of his schedule.

But Farah's priority this season is more success on the track.

"My main goal for 2015 is the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Beijing and I will keep training hard to defend my 5,000m and 10,000m titles," he added.

Saturday's Edinburgh event, which will be televised live on BBC One and BBC One HD, will feature performances from some of the world's best athletes.

Among them will be Gemma Steel, Britain's European cross-county champion, two-time European champion Fionnuala Britton and Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the former Olympic and two-time world 1500m champion.

Scots Callum Hawkins, Andrew Butchart and Luke Caldwell were due to face Farah in the 8km men's race.

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