Section: Adam Gemili

European Athletics Championships 2014: Mo Farah leads gold rush on Great Britain’s Super Sunday

Historic ‘triple-double’ for distance runner after 5,000m triumph while team claim five titles on the last day to finish top of the medal table

n the lustrous glow of a Swiss summer’s afternoon, British athletics enjoyed a day in the sun greater than any it had seen.

Little did Mo Farah realise, as he swept to his third European 5,000 metres title, that he was spearheading an extraordinary charge to five gold and three bronze medals to make this officially the country’s most garlanded day in major cham­pionships history.

For symbolism of such an achievement, we needed look no further than the figure of young Desiree Henry, anchoring the women’s sprint-relay quartet to an astonishing fifth victory in the space of 2¼ hours.

Where the gold rush had all begun with a rousing triumph in the 10,000m for Jo Pavey, 41 next month and a mother-of-two, it ended with joy for an 18-year-old firmly in the vanguard of the next generation.

The cumulative swag of 12 golds and 23 medals overall was the highest for Britain at any European championships. For only the third time in the event’s 90-year history, after Brussels in 1950 and Budapest in 1998, the team also finished at the summit of the medal table. It felt momentarily as if the British had annexed this genteel residential quarter of Zurich around the Letzigrund Stadium, such was the profusion of Union flags.

From Farah’s fourth distance double in five seasons to the precocious success of Adam Gemili, the former Chelsea academy starlet who won the 200m title in 19.98 seconds at the age of 20, the sense of a renaissance was palpable.

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Athletics: European Championships: Gemili and Rooney win golds as British men seal sprint sweep

Adam Gemili continued his rise by claiming a superb 200 metres gold at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich.

The 20-year-old, who took Commonwealth Games silver in the 100m, powered through a headwind in 19.98 seconds to beat favourite Christophe Lemaitre into second.

Londoner Gemili, a former footballer, burst on to the athletics scene in time for the 2012 Olympics in his hometown, and has progressed well since taking up track full-time.

In rainy and windy conditions in Zurich, the popular youngster led from start to finish, building up an unassailable gap over Frenchman Lemaitre.

“I used to think the only way I’d be able to hear the national anthem was with the England football team,” said Gemili, who was playing non-league football just three years ago. “It’s a great feeling, it’s the best feeling in the world.

“It was really cold and the track was really wet and I don’t know why the race was on so late.

“I had the big man Christophe in the lane inside of me and I knew he’d be coming, so I tried to just run the bend as I usually do and hang on for dear life.

“I could hear the footsteps coming, and you could probably see the tension in my face, but then I crossed the line and saw a sub 20 seconds and I was gob-smacked.

“To become European champion was a big target for me this year and to achieve it is amazing.”

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