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


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


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

Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus updates from Everton vs Palace
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
peopleActress tells men: 'It's your issue too'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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