Mo Farah steals more hearts but not new record at Games anniversary
Britain's long-distance running machine misses out on 3,000m mark though win rewards adoring fans
the Olympic Stadium
Sunday 28 July 2013
Such is Mo Farah's propensity for British records that Dave Moorcroft had joked about Jonathan Edwards being anxious about his triple-jump mark should the Londonder opt to take up another discipline.
A week after breaking Steve Cram's 28-year 1500m record in Monaco, Farah had yesterday been tipped to better Moocroft's national best over 3,000m, set a year before Farah was even born.
In the end, Moorcroft was able to breathe a sigh of relief as the Londoner missed out by some four seconds, more down to the lack of early pace than any dip in form as he destroyed the field with his customary end-of-race turn of speed.
But Farah admitted breaking the record had never been his plan on his return to the Olympic Stadium, the scene of his great triumphs, the double Olympic golds in the 5,000m and 10,000m, for which he is also the British record holder.
During those two runs, his wife, Tania, had been on the verge of giving birth to the couple's twin daughters, Aisha and Amani, who yesterday were watching their dad compete for the first time in the stands having not seen him for nearly two months because of his training and competition. Such sacrifices appear to be paying off, as his latest run, crafted in the foothills of Kenya's Rift Valley and the ski resort of St Moritz, showed.
As he was paraded on to the track earlier on day two of the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games, a near capacity crowd unleashed a unison of Mobots to mark the occasion, a crowd he paid tribute to after his victory. "I wanted to come out here racing in London," the Briton said. "This is where I became Olympic champion and made my name. It's got great memories and I got really emotional about coming back. Having the home support was great – it was incredible, it was close to the noise of the Olympics."
He moved to the front coming into the home straight of the penultimate lap, geeing up the crowd in the process. The noise in response was enough to drown out the in-stadium commentary and his turn of pace left everyone trailing. He crossed the line, arms outstretched, nearly six seconds clear of his closest rival, American Ryan Hill.
Farah's focus is now firmly on next month's World Championships and repeating the double gold that began on Super Saturday. Yesterday in Stratford it was more like Sleek Saturday. The mission to Moscow is abundantly clear with his coach, Alberto Salazar, ordering him back on to the track for lap after lap of warm-down long after the stands had emptied.
Looking ahead to the Worlds Farah, who has been taking tips from Usain Bolt on keeping more relaxed, said: "I feel good, it's just we need to work on a few things. There's not a lot you can change in two weeks so it's important to just tune in."
There were other grounds for British optimism as the former world champion Christine Ohuruogu ran her best time outside a major championship to win the 400m in 50 seconds flat. She has struggled in the past at the Diamond League events but has won the last two on home soil: in Birmingham and now at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, just five minutes away from her home.
She was unfazed when she found Natasha Hastings, in the lane inside, on her shoulder in the opening bend and entered the straight in the lead, which was met with a roar that she admitted helped her to hold off the challenge of Francena McCorory. After running her fourth fastest time, Ohuruogu said: "I never want to lose on home ground."
Like Farah, it bodes well for Moscow, but not all the British contingent will travel to Russia confident of success. Britain's only other current world champion, Dai Greene, opted to miss the event as a precaution.
Chris Tomlinson needed to produce something special in the long jump to get the "A" qualifying standard for the Worlds but failed to go past the eight-metre mark so will have to hope Greg Rutherford does not recover from a hamstring injury to take what seems now like the solitary berth available.
Tiffany Porter marked herself out as medal contender with second place in the 100m hurdles behind the Olympic champion, Sally Pearson, while Will Sharman clocked a personal best of 13.26 for second place in the men's event.
There has been a lot of talk of Olympic legacy in the past week and there was proof of it in the legs of Desiree Henry in the 100m. She failed to qualify for the Olympics but lit the cauldron at the opening ceremony. Racing at the venue for the first time, the 17-year-old was last in her heat but against a world-class field she ran a personal best. Afterwards she said the Olympics had been about "inspiring a generation, and it inspired me".
Tyson doping confirmed
Tyson Gay, the former world sprint champion, has withdrawn from the US team for next month's World Championships in Moscow after the "B" sample from an out-of-competition test in May was confirmed as positive for a banned substance.
The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said on Friday that he had also returned another positive test. Travis Tygart, the chief executive of USADA, said in a statement to Reuters that an additional sample collected from the American sprinter had also returned "an adverse 'A' sample finding". That finding would require confirmation from a test of the "B" sample.
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