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Mo for Team Championships

Mo Farah

Mo Farah

It is just under two months until the European Athletics Team Championships in Gateshead and the host nation can bank on their star man.

Mo Farah, the double Olympic champion, has confirmed he will be available to represent Great Britain and N.I. at the venue where Britain first won the trophy 24 years ago in its old guise as the European Cup.

Farah, 30, could run in either the 3000m or, more likely, the 5000m.

His presence will increase the atmosphere even more over what should be a thrilling two days of competition on June 22 and June 23.

Peter Eriksson, British Athletics Olympic head coach, said: “I am delighted that Mo has made himself available for the European Athletics Team Championships in Gateshead.

“To be able to field your strongest team is what any head coach would want in order to continue building on our GB team successes.

“To have a double Olympic champion lining up will be great for the team and the home crowd, and I expect Great Britain to be in the mix for the title.”

Farah first ran in the European Cup in 2005 in Florence when he finished second in the 3000m.

He won the 5000m in Annecy in 2008 and then in 2009 triumphed over the distance at the first European Team Championships in Leiria before retaining the title in Bergen 12 months later.

Farah will be given the biggest reception after his amazing 2012 where he retained his title as 5000m champion at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki in June.

Then in London in August he became the first Briton to win gold at a major Olympic distance race with his victory in the 10,000m before making it a double when he triumphed in the 5000m a week later.

Linda Green, Gateshead council Cabinet member for Culture, said: “Names don’t get much bigger than Mo’s in terms of British athletes right now and I am sure that there will be lots of people really excited to have him competing here in the North east.”

With the men’s and women’s team scores combined, Farah will be favourite to land maximum points in a competition where Britain face Belarus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Ukraine and Turkey.

Germany were the first Super League champions followed on the next two occasions by Russia. Britain has finished third, second and fourth.

But Gateshead has good memories for Britain.

It was back in 1989 when Britain’s men won their first European Cup, led by 100m sprinter Linford Christie and including stars such as 110m hurdler Colin Jackson and Steve Backley in the javelin, and at the same venue, they were crowned champions again in 2000.

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