Athletics: Farah's talent gives Britain brighter outlook

It has been raining all week in San Giorgio su Legnano, the suburb of Milan which hosts the 13th European Cross Country Championships tomorrow, and another half an inch of rain is forecast today. But the prediction for race day is "dry and sunny" - and all at UK Athletics are hoping fervently for a suitably bright finale to what has been another year of severely dampened aspirations.

Having failed to earn a single individual gold medal at this summer's European Championships - though a number of promising youngsters picked up some silver and bronze - Britain's athletes are seeking to improve on that in a muddier European context in which they have earned bags full of booty in previous years.

It is 10 years since a Briton, Jon Brown, won the senior men's event, but in Mo Farah, who missed the European 5,000 metres title by fractions of a second in August, the team has a contender to match Brown.

There have been three wins for Britons in the senior women's event - two from Paula Radcliffe and one, in 2004, from Hayley Yelling, who is in the team this year along with Jo Pavey, the Commonwealth 5,000m silver medallist.

But the race which offers the headiest prospects for Britain is the junior women's, where Emily Pidgeon, who took silver last year, is back near her best after a heel injury and there are two other talented performers in Sian Edwards, 10th in the world cross country junior race this year, and Stephanie Twell, who defeated Pidgeon in the trial at Liverpool two weeks ago.

"I can't remember a time when we had three juniors as outstanding as Pidgeon, Twell and Edwards at the same time," the head coach, Alan Storey, said yesterday.

"Predicting the order they will finish in is virtually impossible. But with all of them running in the same team - am I bothered? We need four in the top 20 to have a chance of a medal, but I think the girls will be disappointed if they didn't match the gold they got last year." If anybody can make the domestic sport feel good about itself again it is Farah, a genial 23-year-old who has taken huge strides this season. Farah has re-dedicated himself to the path he took up after arriving as an 11-year-old Somalian refugee.

Training with a group of world-class Kenyans has shifted him on to a different plane. Two weeks ago he defeated one of his training partners, Micah Kogo, to win at Dunkirk, and as Kogo has run the fastest 10,000m in the world this year Farah will draw confidence from that performance.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever