Athletics: Farah pipped but future looks golden

Mohammed Farah came within 0.09sec of a 5,000 metres gold medal here yesterday in the penultimate event of a European Championship which, while it has seen modest achievements by the British team, has nevertheless offered several reasons to be cheerful for future years.

On the evidence of his performance here, this 23-year-old Somalian refugee - he left the war-ravaged country 10 years ago to join his father in England - certainly appears an athlete who can benefit his adopted country as it looks towards the Beijing Olympics.

Farah had arrived here as the second-ranked runner in the European rankings following his breakthrough performance in Heusden, Belgium last month, where he took 20 seconds off his best to clock 13min 09.40sec.

When the man occupying top place in those rankings, Ireland's naturalised South African Alistair Cragg, stumbled out of the lead with just over 1,000 metres to go because of a knee problem, Farah had the opportunity to add the senior European title to the junior version he won in 2001.

He gave it everything but was passed in the finishing straight by Spain's Jesus Espana, who held off another final effort from the Briton to win in 13min 44.70sec to Farah's 13.44.79.

"I'm a bit disappointed to lose by .09sec, which is a small margin at this distance, but I have to be happy with the Championships and the season as a whole," said Farah, who has spent the last year training and living with a group of Kenyan runners at the house in Teddington which has become a European haven for so many African competitors over the years.

"I had great support in the group and this gives me more confidence for years to come to compete at world levels with African runners," Farah added.

On a chilly and overcast day which left the track gleaming with rain, the women's sprint relay team had earned Britain's first medal of the final session as they made the most of opportunities presented by mistakes from three other strong contenders.

First Belgium - with double individual champion Kim Gevaert waiting impotently further along the track - and then, on the final changeover, Germany and France, failed to transfer the baton.

Anchor leg runner Joice Maduaka emerged from the mêlée in bronze position and made up a couple of metres on Aksana Drahun of Belarus to see a team which also included Anya Onuora, Emma Ania and Emily Freeman home in 43.51sec behind the Russian winners, who clocked 42.71.

"This is just brilliant," said the 32-year-old trials winner, who missed an individual medal here by 0.02sec. "I was especially determined to get a medal here after missing out earlier in the week." Within 20 minutes, Britain had another medal of an even more unexpected nature as Sam Ellis earned Britain another bronze in the 800 metres.

The 24-year-old Sheffield athlete, whose coaching advisor John Anderson was refused accreditation to attend these Championships by UK Athletics, forced himself back into contention in a race where he appeared to have lost any chance following a bumping and barging match on the back straight that left himself and fellow Briton Michael Rimmer staggering.

A distant fifth as the field reached the final straight, Ellis made up almost 10 metres before forcing himself between the man who finished second, David Fiegen - winning Luxembourg's first ever medal at these Championships - and the athlete who led most of the race, Latvia's Dmitrijs Milkevics. Ellis was timed at 1min 46.64, just .08sec behind the Dutch winner, Bram Som.

The same spirit seemed to animate Tim Benjamin as he forced his way past Poland's last leg runner in the 400m relay to turn bronze into silver.

Benjamin, disappointed not to win a medal in the individual event, managed to earn some reward for a season which has been badly affected by a hip injury.

France, whose team included the individual champion Marc Raquil, won in 3.01.10, with Benjamin anchoring a quartet that also comprised Robert Tobin, Graham Hedman and Williams home in 3:01.63.

Final medals table

Russia
G: 12
S: 12
B: 10
Total: 34

Germany
G: 4
S: 4
B: 2
Total: 10

Belarus
G: 4
S: 3
B: 2
Total: 9

France
G: 4
S: 1
B: 3
Total: 8

Spain
G: 3
S: 3
B: 5
Total: 11

Sweden
G: 3
S: 1
B: 2
Total: 6

Belgium
G: 3
S: 0
B: 0
Total: 3

Portugal
G: 2
S: 1
B: 1
Total: 4

Italy
G: 2
S: 0
B: 1
Total: 3

Great Britain
G: 1
S: 5
B: 5
Total: 11

Czech Republic
G: 1
S: 2
B: 1
Total: 4

Finland
G: 1
S: 2
B: 0
Total: 3

Greece
G: 1
S: 2
B: 0
Total: 3

Bulgaria
G: 1
S: 1
B: 1
Total: 3

Netherlands
G: 1
S: 1
B: 0
Total: 2

Norway
G: 1
S: 1
B: 0
Total: 2

Israel
G: 1
S: 0
B: 0
Total: 1

Latvia
G: 1
S: 0
B: 0
Total: 1

Lithuania
G: 1
S: 0
B: 0
Total: 1

Poland
G: 0
S: 3
B: 4
Total: 7

Ukraine
G: 0
S: 1
B: 2
Total: 3

Estonia
G: 0
S: 1
B: 1
Total: 2

Hungary
G: 0
S: 1
B: 0
Total: 1

Ireland
G: 0
S: 1
B: 0
Total: 1

Luxembourg
G: 0
S: 1
B: 0
Total: 1

Serbia
G: 0
S: 1
B: 0
Total: 1

Switzerland
G: 0
S: 1
B: 0
Total: 1

Romania
G: 0
S: 0
B: 2
Total: 2

Denmark
G: 0
S: 0
B: 1
Total: 1

Slovenia
G: 0
S: 0
B: 1
Total: 1

Turkey
G: 0
S: 0
B: 1
Total: 1

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

1st line call logger/ User access administrator

£9 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Warrington a...

Shine Night Walk 2014 - 'On the night' volunteer roles

Unpaid Voluntary Work : Cancer Research UK: We need motivational volunteers to...

Accounts Assistant (Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable)

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Accounts Assistant (Accounts Payable...

Senior IT Trainer - Buckinghamshire - £250 - £350 p/d

£200 - £300 per day: Ashdown Group: IT Trainer - Marlow, Buckinghamshire - £25...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star