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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project