Farah and Ennis gain GB gongs

World 5,000m champion and heptathlon silver medallist named athletes of year by British writers
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The Independent Online

Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis were named athletes of the year for the second year in succession by the British Athletics Writers' Association at the organisation's annual awards event yesterday.

The world 5,000 metres champion Farah took the men's award for the third time, while Ennis clinched the women's title for the third year in succession, winning by just two votes from world 1500m runner-up Hannah England.

Farah said: "I would like to thank all the writers who followed my journey, not only in 2011 but for the past 10 years."

Ennis added: "The heptathlon is not the easiest discipline to follow and the athletics writers really help the public follow my progress."

Someone who hopes to follow in Farah's footsteps and romp to long-distance glory is Hampshire's Charlotte Purdue, who says she is on course to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, with the Hook athlete's main target the 10,000m in London.

Purdue has been in fine form recently, finishing second at the Great Edinburgh Run earlier in October.

The 20-year-old had knee surgery in May but has now fully recovered. "The 10,000m is going to be my main target this season but I would like to get the 5k Olympic qualifying time as well," Purdue told BBC South Today.

She added: "I was quite surprised with how I ran in Edinburgh. I knew I was fit, but I didn't know I was that fit. I didn't think I would produce that performance so I was happy."

Purdue had a successful cross-country campaign earlier this year, but the long-time member of Aldershot, Farnham & District Athletics Club says she will concentrate on the road and track in the upcoming season.

"I'm going to Kenya so I am going to miss quite a lot of the cross-country season and I'll hopefully go again in January, so I'll probably focus more on the road and the track races and getting the Olympic qualifying time," she explained.

"There is a little bit of a dearth of talent in the 5k and 10k, we haven't had that many people representing Great Britain in it so there is definitely a space for me. I just need to run the [10K] time [31min 45sec].

"My coach [Mick Woods] definitely seems to think I would have got the 'A' qualifying time had I not got injured, and he's never been wrong before," added Purdue.

Olympic qualification may yet to be achieved, but Purdue, who trains at St Mary's University College in Twickenham, has already set herself a target should she make it to London 2012. "If I get there I'm aiming for a top-eight finish, that would be good," she said. "I'll be 21 at the time of the Olympics so, hopefully, there'll be plenty more."