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

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
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

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?