Dominant Farah runs away with the 5000m gold
|Mo Farah of Great Britain successfully defended his European 5000m
title on the first day of the 2012 European Athletics Championships
A 53.6 final circuit gave him a near two second winning margin over the second ranked Ame Gabius of Germany who took silver. Just six-hundredths of a second separated three runners battling for bronze with Turkey's Polat Kemboi Arikan just holding off France's Yohan Durand and Danielle Meucci. The Italian, who took 10,000m bronze in Barcelona, at least moved up a place from his 5000m sixth in 2010.
Farah, also the reigning European indoor champion over 3000m, who has the world leading mark of 12:56.98, won in the relatively slow time of 13:29.91, but it was the quickest European winning time since 1990.
The Briton was content to sit dead last through the first 200m in 34 seconds but he gradually moved through during the second lap as Russian Anatoliy Rybakov built up a good lead which went up to five seconds.
The Russian passed 1000m in 2:42.45 with Farah lying around 10th. The Russian was slowing though as his 65 laps became 66 and then 67
He was still ahead at 2000m in 5:30.32 but that kilometre was nearer 2:48 and the pack began to close.
The Russian lost the lead just after halfway which was passed in 6:53 and as the pace initially slowed, shortly afterwards Farah began to assume control.
The 3000m time was 8:17.50 with the Briton ahead, and the lead group still numbered 21.
Farah continued to run the shortest route and held the inside lane as Hayle Ibrahimov, who gave him such a great race in the European indoors ran outside him and looked strong. The pace initially showed no real increase as Farah reeled off laps of 66.11 and 67.20. However three laps out Farah began to raise the tempo and as he went past 4000m in 11:03.15, the lead group was down to 13.
Farah complted the third lap out in 63.84 and then the penultimate lap in 61.51 as the other contenders fell away and only five runners seemed in contention as they hit the bell. He lengthened his stride further on the bend and then a kick down the backstraight opened a gap of aroundfive metres. Gabius initially seemed to close on the final bend but the Briton had another gear in hand and he kicked again down the straight.
He had covered the last 800m in a vicious 1:55.20 and the final kilometre in 2:26.76.
Across the line he performed his Mobot – putting his arms in the shape of a M, which he hopes he will be repeating at London when he could become the first ever distance runner to win the world, European and Olympic title within a year.
The German, who had run a 13.13.43 in Oslo, showed a great improvement on his 12th in Barcelona.
For bronze Arikan, who had fallen on the second lap, held the inside line as Durand closed up and Meucci made up ground but too late. Three seconds back Ibrahimov faded to sixth but the bronze medallist at least fared better than former champion Jesus Espana who was 20th in 13:55.98. The RussianRybakov paid for his impetuous start and he finished 19th.
The 29 year-old Briton, who is one of the big names of the Championships, was to many a surprise entry with the London Olympics looming. However, the European Championships have a special meaning and he thought the tactical nature of the race would probably prepare him better for London than a fast Diamond League type race.
Farah had been narrowly beaten by Espana in an epic 2006 final in Goteborg, where he lost by nine hundredths of a second. He gained his revenge in Barcelona, where his long run for home gave him a two second victory over the Spaniard in 13:31.18.
Farah, who had controversially run the 1500m heats in the UK Olympic Trials a few days earlier but withdrawn from the final was happy with his win.
Farah said, "I did not do the 1500m final at the trials to save my legs and come out here. The race went well, I thought I was going to go earlier. My aim was to try to run hard without pulling anything - that is what the coach told me.I knew training has been going well, I had no concern, I knew I had good speed but you always have to respect your opposition. It means a lot to win a European title again because you never want to take thing for granted. I came to Helsinki as I believe the European Championships to be an important event in the athletics calendar. I'm very pleased with my race today and it was a good warm up as I consider London to be the big one."