Farah makes rapid strides to begin new adventure

Distance runner who went Stateside defends title and will attempt first half-marathon in New York

On the opening day of the European Indoor Championships there were British medal celebrations courtesy of the girl from Ypsilanti, Michigan – Iggy Pop's home town. Twenty-four hours on from Tiffany Ofili's silver in the 60m hurdles, the first British gold was delivered in the Palais Omnisports de Bercy by the Somali-born, London-raised distance runner who is setting up home on the Oregon trail and is bound for the Big Apple for the first test on his new frontier.

Mo Farah had barely crossed the finish line after a successful defence of his 3,000m title when it was announced that he would be running in the New York City Half Marathon on 20 March. It came as confirmation that the reigning male British athlete of the year happens to be expanding his horizons in every respect. It will be his debut at the 13.1-mile distance.

At 27, having become untouchable on the European scene, Farah reached a crossroads in his running career and decided to set out in a new direction. After a testing of the waters at Beaverton in Oregon, he has chosen to join the elite group of Americans coached there by former marathon great Alberto Salazar. Thankfully for British athletics, he will continue to earn his stripes as a star running under the flag of the Union Jack.

Still, there was a feeling of Farah closing a chapter yesterday as he added another European title to his curriculum vitae – his third in eight months, following his 5,000m and 10,000m double at the outdoor European Championships in Barcelona last July. As was the case in the shorter event in the Catalan capital, he had to dig deep for his victory.

After taking the lead with six laps to go and winding up the pace from the front, Farah was unable to shake off Hayle Ibrahimov. The Azerbaijan athlete, born in Ethiopia, attempted an overtaking manoeuvre down the back straight on the final lap but Farah managed to resist it and held on to win by 0.32sec in 7min 53.00sec. There might have been a double medal success for Britain but Andy Baddeley was outkicked for the bronze by Halil Akkas of Turkey, finishing fourth in 7:54.49.

"I had to work hard to win that," Farah said. "Alberto told me, 'I don't want you to go from early in the race. I want you to learn something. Make sure you have something left at the end'. It's nice to win on the European circuit again but there are bigger challenges ahead for me. I hope Alberto can take me to the next level, help me get that second, half a second that I need to find to get a medal in the World Championships."

There was another medal for the British team here yesterday. In the 400m Richard Buck snatched bronze in 46.62sec as his team-mate Richard Strachan faded from second to fifth in the home straight in his all-out pursuit of Frenchman Leslie Djhone, a clear winner in 45.54sec. Not that Buck was happy with his first individual medal at international championship level. "I'm disappointed," the York runner confessed. "I went out for the win."

There will be a clutch of British athletes going into finals with the same intention on the concluding afternoon of competition today – Jenny Meadows (800m), Helen Clitheroe (3,000m), Andrew Osagie (800m) and Dwain Chambers (60m) all having qualified impressively from semi-finals yesterday.

For the youngest member of the team, however, it is a victory simply to have made the final cut. On her first day on senior international duty, Jodie Williams not only overcame nerves in her 60m heat and semi-final, she got past enough of her elders to reach the ultimate stage.

The 17-year-old A-Level student from Welwyn Garden City finished third in her morning heat in 7.31sec and clocked 7.21sec – a lifetime best – for fourth place in her semi-final.

"I was a bit calmer this afternoon," she said. "It's always a confidence boost when you have just run a personal best going into a final. I think it was really daunting this morning. I did not run a good race in the heat. It was all a bit too much. But I am a lot stronger than I thought I was and I am really happy with how I've done. These other girls are running 7.1sec. There is no way I am going to challenge them in the final. I'm just going to run and see what I can do."

The world junior 100m champion has already got further than the youngest British representative at these championships managed to do in Grenoble in 1972. Sonia Lannaman was 15 when she ran in the 50m that year. She reached the semi-finals but missed out on the final by 0.02sec to Irena Szewinska, the great Pole who remains the only athlete to set world records at 100m, 200m and 400m, and who was watching the Welwyn Garden Whizz Kid from the stands.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
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

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015