Golden memories put pressure on Mo Farah to start season with win

Kenya training and weak field should help GB's Olympic star serve up victory to sell-out crowd

Mo Farah has one objective for the British Athletics Grand Prix at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham this afternoon. "It's about trying to win a race," the double golden boy of British athletics said yesterday. "It's my first race of 2013. I must win it, right?"

Certainly, that will be the expectation when Farah lines up in front of a sell-out crowd for the 3,000m.

Having brought his Midas touch memorably to bear twice over in the 80,000-seater Olympic Stadium at Stratford last summer, beating the world's best in the 10,000m and then the 5,000m, the 29-year-old Londoner has a world-beating reputation to uphold.

With six weeks of high-altitude training behind him, and an absence of high-quality rivals, the 15-lap race should prove to be little more than a victory parade for Farah, although there is nothing as clear cut as a foregone conclusion when it comes to the cut and thrust of racing on a tight, banked 200m indoor track. The double Olympic champion knows that well enough, having taken a mid-race tumble and started running in the wrong direction when he got back to his feet in the 3,000m heats at the European Indoor Championships at the NIA in 2007.

For Jenny Meadows, there will be a belated golden moment to savour. An Achilles tendon injury kept the Wigan Harrier out of action for the whole of 2012, but on the day last July that her failure to make the Olympic team was confirmed, it was simultaneously announced that she had been retrospectively upgraded from runner-up to winner of the 800m at the 2011 European Indoor Championships in Paris. Yevgenia Zinurova, the Russian who beat her to the gold in the French capital, had been suspended for a doping violation.

Having missed out on the home Olympic experience, and undergone surgery in Stockholm, Meadows will be back in action today. The 800m – also featuring Lynsey Sharp, controversially the only British woman selected for London 2012 in the event – will be her first race since the mile at the Great City Games in Newcastle in September 2011.

Win or lose, the 31-year-old will return to the North West with a golden glow, for UK Athletics has arranged for the European Indoor gold to be presented to the 5ft 1in pocket rocket. "I just can't wait to finally get that gold medal," Meadows said yesterday. "I am dying to put it in my medal cabinet at home."

It will not quite be the same, though. Meadows has asked for her belated reward to be handed to her by Phil Jones, the BBC television trackside interviewer, rather than replicate a championship podium scenario. She has also asked for no national anthem or raising of the Union Flag.

But won't she feel mixed emotions at the lack of fuss, having been denied her glory moment on the day?

"As a youngster you dream that one day you'll be on top of that podium," Meadows said. "I did actually think two years ago that the European Indoors was my best chance of taking a title.

"That was definitely my chance to have that moment and unfortunately I didn't manage to do that. I am a little bit bitter about that, but at the end of the day I am just grateful that I have won a title at some point in my career – and hopefully it won't be my last."

Meadows has won two "minor" medals at global level – bronze at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin and silver at the 2010 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. Her aim on the comeback trail lies beyond the 2013 indoor season – the outdoor World Championships in Moscow in August.

Farah also has his sights set on the Russian capital, still charged with motivation despite his two Olympic gold medals. "I want to defend the 5,000m title that I won two years ago," he said, "and try to win the 10,000m too this time."

At the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Farah was outsprinted for the 10,000m crown by Ibrahim Jeilan of Ethiopia. "That race nags away," the British star said. "But you learn from your mistakes and I have learned a lot from that race. It's important that I come back."

Farah's importance in the distance- running world has been reinforced on his training trip to Kenya. "The reaction was crazy," he said. "People were coming up to me saying, 'You come here! You beat us!'

"Even at the airport, when I arrived, there was one guy who said to me, 'Oh Mo, you beat us! We shouldn't let you in!' He was smiling. They're wonderful people, the Kenyans."

News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
arts + entsBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
people
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
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

Financial Control Manager - Regulatory Reporting

£400 - £550 per day: Orgtel: Financial Control Manager - Regulatory Reporting ...

Lead Application Developer

£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am current...

Senior Networks Architect

£65000 per annum + 15% Pension, Health, Travel & Bonus: Progressive Recruitmen...

SAP BW/BO Consultant

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW/BO CONSU...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices