Section: Mo Farah

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: Mo Farah wins 10,000m European Championship gold

Mo Farah had to battle to win back his European 10,000m title as his fellow Briton Andy Vernon snatched a fine silver.

Farah, ill or injured for much of the summer, came good in his second track race of the season to match his team-mate Jo Pavey’s distance gold.

In a slow race a large lead group went through halfway in 14 minutes nine seconds, and with four laps to go seven athletes were in theoretical contention.

Farah went to the front with 600m to go and opened out as always at the bell, but only in the final 60m did he get rid of Turkey’s Ali Kaya before Vernon’s late surge.

The winning time of 28 minutes 8.12 seconds was less relevant than the salvaging of something from a crisis-ridden season.

Farah now has five European golds, one more than Colin Jackson and Steve Backley, and nine medals in major championships – a tally that out-strips Daley Thompson, Jonathan Edwards and Linford Christie.

The 31-year-old double world and Olympic champion will have the chance to win another gold in the 5,000m on Sunday.

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