Magnificent Mo has the Midas touch

Three golds in 85 minutes as Ennis plays captain's innings while Greene storms to hurdles glory

Three in the first four days. Three in 85 minutes last night. The Great British gold rush just keeps gathering momentum at these European Championships. Jessica Ennis played a captain's innings on the penultimate night in the Montjuic Olympic Stadium, clinching the heptathlon title with a championship record score, after Dai Greene had won the 400m hurdles in commanding fashion. Then came the man whose Midas touch had started the British ball rolling on the opening night.

Last Tuesday night Mo Farah won the 10,000m at his leisure, toying with the opposition before putting them out of their misery by sprinting clear with 300 metres to go. Last night, with the 5,000m crown on the line, the burgeoning golden boy of British athletics brought his Midas touch to bear with the class of the truly great distance runner that he has become.

At the last European Championships in Gothenburg four years ago, Farah was beaten to the gold in the 5,000m by a tantalising 0.09sec – by the fast-finishing Spaniard Jesus Espana. Last night, the Somali-born Londoner could hardly have avenged that painful defeat in a more emphatic fashion.

Taking the lead with three laps to go, Farah ratcheted up the pace by degrees. It was the kind of thumbscrew treatment administered by the Inquisition in these parts once upon a time. It condemned poor Espana to a long, slow defeat, and silenced the Spanish crowd.

Farah was away and clear before he swept into the home straight. He crossed the line in 13min 31.18sec. Espana was almost two seconds behind. Farah had grabbed his title, and completed the 5,000m and 10,000m double – the first British runner ever to do so at one of the four major championships: Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth Games.

As he sank to his knees on the track, Farah was finally overtaken. Emotion succeeded where Espana had failed. The tears came flooding down. And with good reason.

In the 66-year history of the European Championships, before last night only four men had been strong enough to achieve the men's distance double on the track: the great Czech soldier Emil Zatopek in 1950, Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak of Poland in 1958, Juha Vaatainen of Finland in 1971, and Italy's Salvatore Antibo in 1990.

"In the home straight, I just dug and dug," Farah reflected, confessing that he had been unaware of the winning gap that he had created. "Four years ago, it was at that point where Espana came past me," he said. "I didn't want to look behind. I was telling myself to just dig and dig, and push and push. I'm just so happy that I've won."

Ennis, meanwhile, had to push and push to add the European heptathlon crown to her expanding portfolio of titles, after lining up for the seventh and final event, the 800m, with a lead of only 18 points. Having won World Championship gold by a whopping 258 points in Berlin last summer, and the world indoor pentathlon title in Doha in March by 86 points, it was unfamiliar territory for the Sheffield woman who has established herself as the planet's leading female all-rounder by some distance over the course of the last 18 months.

Sure, the gold was still hers to lose. Natalya Dobrynska would have to beat her by 1.25sec to snatch it from her, and on previous best times the Ukrainian was some three seconds slower over the two-lap distance. Still, the pride of the Steel City needed to show her mettle. Having failed to mount a sustained challenge to Ennis in either Berlin or Doha, in the preceding six events in Barcelona Dobrynska had suddenly rediscovered the kind of form that propelled her to Olympic gold in Beijing two years ago.

When the gun fired for the start of the 800m, Ennis shot into the lead and pushed the pace from the front. The gold looked to be in the bag. But then Dobrynska went for broke, sweeping past with 250 metres to go – only for Ennis to respond with interest. Regaining the lead with 180 remaining, the Briton sprinted to a clear victory in 2min 10.18sec.

Ultimately, Ennis pocketed the gold with 45 points to spare and with a lifetime best tally of 6,823 points, eclipsing Carolina Kluft's championship record but missing Denise Lewis's 10-year-old British record by a measly eight points. "I am so happy and so relieved," Ennis said. "It has been a really tough couple of days. I've been pushed all the way and it's a brilliant relief to have crossed that line and won the gold medal.

"On the start line for the 800m I was so nervous, knowing that if Dobrynska got ahead of me it would cost me the gold. With everyone doing so well and us winning so many medals, I kind of thought, 'I don't want to let anyone down'."

There are high hopes of a seventh British gold medal on the final day today, courtesy of the men's 4 x 400m relay quartet. There would also have been hopes of another from the men's 4 x 100m relay team had their challenge not come to grief with a cock-up in the baton-passing department between Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis in the semi-finals yesterday.

Still, there are also strong medal chances today for Lisa Dobriskey in the 1500m and the women's 4 x 400m relay team. Another three medals of any description would eclipse the record British haul, the 18 gleaned in Split twenty years ago.

There were five medals in total last night, including a silver medal lining for Michael Rimmer in the 800m. With 250 metres to go, the Southport athlete had eased into the lead and was starting to wind up the pace. As he was doing so, however, he was being closely shadowed by Marcin Lewandowski, the other major contender. As Rimmer rounded into the home straight, the Pole moved alongside him and the pair were locked in a neck-and-neck duel until the last 10 metres.

At that point the Briton finally buckled. Lewandowski edged past to claim the win in 1min 47.07sec. Rimmer finished second in 1:47.17, his face unable to disguise his disappointment. "I gave it my all," he said. "But fair play to Lewandowski. I dearly wanted to become the first British winner for 20 years."

A graduate in history, Rimmers could not quite close the gap back to Tom McKean's golden run in Split in 1990. Still, the 24-year-old joined one all-time British great in having to settle for 800m silver on the European Championship stage. Steve Ovett finished second to the Yugoslav Luciano Susanji in Rome in 1974 and to the big, barrel-chested Olaf Beyer of East Germany in Prague in 1978.

Euro stars

In Barcelona, the British team have so far won 16 medals: 6 golds, 6 silvers and 4 bronze. As well as yesterday's victories for Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon and Dai Greene in the 400m hurdles, Mo Farah won the 5,000m and the 10,000m, Andy Turner took the 110m hurdles title and Phillips Idowu won the triple jump. At the 2006 European Championships in Gothenburg, GB bagged 11 medals – one gold, five silvers and five bronze. The 4x100m relay team took gold. In 2002 in Munich, Britain collected 12 medals – five golds, two silvers and five bronze. The winners were Paula Radcliffe in the 10,000m, Colin Jackson in the 110m hurdles, the 4x400m relay team, Steve Backley in the javelin and Ashia Hansen in the triple jump.

Giles Lucas

Final-day medal hopes

Chris Tomlinson

7.10pm: men's long jump

After 10 attempts, Tomlinson has yet to win a medal at a senior outdoor championship. Could it be 11th time lucky tonight for the towering Teessider who broke Lynn Davies's ancient British record eight years ago? He jumped a season's best of 8.20m on Friday, the third-longest jump in the qualifying round, behind the 8.27m achieved by both Eusebio Caceres of Spain and Christian Reif of Germany. The field also includes the injury-plagued Andrew Howe, the defending champion from Italy.

Past GB winner Lynn Davies, 1966

Lisa Dobriskey

8.15pm: women's 1500m

At the World Championships in Berlin last summer, Dobriskey executed a tactical race of near perfection to take the silver medal behind Maryan Jamal of Bahrain, missing gold by a tantalising 0.01sec. Three weeks ago the woman from Ashford in Kent was sitting pretty at the top of the European rankings and No 1 contender for Barcelona. Then Anna Alminova returned from a drugs ban to clock a stunning 3min 57.86sec in Paris. The Russian will start favourite. Hannah England and Steph Twell also go for GB.

Past GB winners None.

Best GB performance Kelly Holmes, silver 1994

Women's 4x400m relay

8.40pm

The British squad travelled to Barcelona without Christine Ohuruogu, the injured Olympic 400m champion, but in the first round yesterday the GB quartet – consisting of Nicola Sanders, Vicky Barr, Marilyn Okoro and Lee McConnell – finished second in their heat, behind Russia, the red-hot favourites for gold. With Perri Shakes-Drayton, winner of the 400m hurdles bronze medal on Friday, likely to replace Okoro for the final, a medal becomes a realistic possibility.

Past GB win 1969

Men's 4 x 400m relay

8.55pm

A run of five British triumphs was brought to an end by the French in Gothenburg four years ago but the historical trend looks likely to be restored. With a quartet of Martyn Rooney, Michael Bingham, Conrad Williams and Rob Tobin, Britain will start as the team to beat. The Belgians might run them close, with Kevin Borlée – who win the exciting individual 400m final ahead of Bingham and Rooney on Friday night – and his twin brother, Jonathan, to draw upon. Nonetheless, the championships should finish as they started on the track on Tuesday: with gold for Great Britain.

Past GB wins 1950, 1958, 1974, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002

Simon Turnbull

Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
Arts and Entertainment
books The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?