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Mo Farah Gold in Zurich

mo farah - zurich 2014

Draped under a national flag – which came in pretty handy as the rain lashed down – Mo Farah was a gold medallist again at the European Athletics Championships on Wednesday.

And just like in Barcelona in 2010, he had a teammate alongside him in the celebrations in the shape of Andy Vernon on a glorious night of 10,000m running for Great Britain in Zurich.

The torrential weather, though, was pretty apt as Farah led the lap of honour because when it comes to this gruelling distance, he is the reigning champion wherever he goes.

The Olympic and world gold medallist now has a second European crown to confirm what the sport knew anyway: that he is the best in the business.

Having not raced over the distance all summer, in fact this final was only Farah’s second track encounter of 2014, he showed no signs of the heart scare that had forced him to miss the Commonwealth Games.

He might not have had his normal electric pace on the final lap, but he had enough grit and determination to fend off the threat of Turkey’s Ali Kaya, the European junior champion, before Vernon battled home to snatch second.

It was a reminder of the European Athletics Championships in 2010 when Farah won his first major 10,000m title because on that night Chris Thompson made it a British one-two.

Since then, Farah has taken the distance at championships to a new level. He runs in a fashion like few men before and did just as was predicted: he toyed with the field at his own desire.

He began the race at the back of the 24-man field, fully 25 metres behind the leader, the Italian Daniele Meucci.

Slowly he increased his own tempo. He was in front a few laps later but then the defending champion, Turkey’s Polat Kemboi Arikan, took over and attempted to break Farah.

What he did achieve with an injection of speed was to cut the lead group to seven, with Arikan in front from Farah, Kaya, Belgium’s Bashir Abdi, Vernon, Meucci and Bouabdellah Tahri from France.

Tahri was dropped with a lap to go, Farah then went for it, but Kaya would not let go of him.

In the home straight, Farah charged away and had just enough to win in 28:08.11 but as Kaya thought he had second, Vernon, a bronze medallist from last year’s SPAR European Cross Country Championships, came through to take silver in 28:08.66 from the Turkish runner who was third in a personal best of 28:08.72.

Out of all Farah’s incredible achievements over the past few years, this performance is among the best when his timetable into the race is digested. He admitted that his eighth place in the London Marathon in April took more out of him than he thought, and his one track race was a 5000m in Portland in June.

But he did not look rusty. He looked sharp, and as he said: “Winning the European Championships means so much to me. I was really ill a few weeks ago but training has gone well.”

Vernon was delighted and said: “This medal is from a great deal of work – over months, years.”
And Kaya shared the happiness, insisting: “The bronze is a big surprise.”

The Turk also won the 5000m at last year’s European Athletics Junior Championships and he will be a danger again in the final on Sunday as Farah chases a European hat-trick at the distance.

A danger to him, yes, but on this evidence on Wednesday night, it is going to take some performance to stop Farah from making it another golden double.

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