Flying Farah rises to the challenge as Judd enters elite ranks

 

The Alexander Stadium

Before the best of Britain's runners and jumpers got into action in Birmingham yesterday, it was fair to say they were in danger of getting stuck in Jagger mode in post-home-Olympic season.

Without a single athlete occupying a top-four place in the world rankings, and the World Championships in Moscow looming just five weeks' distant on the horizon, like the venerable Rolling Stones frontman they were somewhat struggling in the satisfaction stakes.

It was a different story by the end of the afternoon. The near sold-out 12,500 crowd were sent home happy after another stunning Mo show, and much else besides – not least the sight of the coltish 19-year-old Canvey Islander Jessica Judd smashing through the two-minute barrier for 800m with her second landmark victory in seven days.

Britain might not be in the best of track and field states 12 months on from London 2012 (with Jessica Ennis-Hill struggling to overcome injury, Greg Rutherford hampered by a niggle and Dai Greene bereft of the form that won him the world 400m hurdles title two years ago) but the nation still has world-class talent.

In Farah, Britain happens to possess the planet's pre-eminent distance runner and a major hope for gold in the Russian capital next month. The Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion (and world 5,000m title-holder) unleashed a fearsome kick in the final lap of the hitherto pedestrian 5,000m race at the European Team Championships in Gateshead last weekend, burning off the nominal opposition with a scorching 50.89sec final lap. Yesterday the 30-year-old Londoner saw off three of his leading global rivals at the shorter distance – Ethiopians Yenew Alamirew, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Ibrahim Jeilan – with another irresistible grandstand finish.

The 12-and-a-half-lap race did not begin in earnest until the last 900m and at the bell Farah, Gebrhiwet and Alamirew were all in close proximity at the sharp end for what proved to be a gripping last-lap thriller.

Farah made his move with 200m go, hitting the front with a vengeance and stepping on the gas. Alamirew challenged him around the final bend but the Briton moved into overdrive in the home straight and, happily, did not fade away, crossing the line 0.47sec clear of Alamirew in 13min 14.24sec. The modest winning time was irrelevant, the last-lap splits far from it. The Fly Mo covered the final 400m in 53.24sec, the last 200m in 25sec.

"I had to dig in deep but it's important that I came here today and won the race," Farah said. "The younger guys wanted to beat me today and they worked hard together. I am the man to beat.

"It's all about the World Championships now. I'm working hard. I'm off to high-altitude training tomorrow, which should be great."

 



As for the emerging Judd, she is off to Nando's at some point this week to celebrate with her schoolmates after missing her leavers' prom to make a winning senior international debut in the European Team Championships last week.

The leggy Essex girl has been a considerable talent for some time but, under the guidance of former Commonwealth 5,000m champion Rob Denmark, she is showing the assurance to match it. Yesterday she judged her tactics to sheer perfection, holding off the pace on the opening lap before hauling in the fading Marilyn Okoro down the home straight to finish a clear winner in 1min 59.85sec. In doing so, she crossed the accepted Rubicon into world-class 800m running, becoming the 19th British woman to finish in under two minutes at 800m.

"I just can't believe that I ran that fast," the jubilant Judd said. "I'm so happy to have broken two minutes. Rob and I have worked so hard. I owe him so much."

There were two other British winners, the burgeoning Perri Shakes-Drayton winning the 400m hurdles in a season's best 53.82sec (with Eilidh Child improving her Scottish record to 54.22sec as runner-up) and Christine Ohuruogu pipping Botswana's world champion Amantle Montsho on the line to take the flat 400m in 50.63sec.

James Dasaolu provided the home crowd with further reason to be cheerful, clocking a lifetime 100m best 10.03sec as runner-up to Jamaican Nesta Carter.

And Rutherford, despite his lingering knee problem, managed a respectable 8.11m leap for second place in the long jump.

Weir decides to miss world championships

David Weir will miss the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in Lyon this month. In the wake of his appearance in the IPC Grand Prix Final in Birmingham on Saturday – which resulted in a rare defeat for the four-time London 2012 gold medal winner – the 34-year-old wheelchair racer said: "I spent seven years building up to London 2012 and I need a year to spend time with the kids and decide where and when to race." The "Weirwolf's" lack of sharpness showed in the Alexander Stadium as he trailed home second in the T54 1500m to Swiss Marcel Hug.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
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

Part Time Primary Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Part Time Primary TeacherOur...

Science Technician

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...

School Administrator

£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Long term SIMS School Administr...

Nursery assistants required across Cambridgeshire

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week