Mo Farah wins double gold with thrilling 5000 metres victory


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The Independent Online

Britain's Mo Farah tonight won his second gold medal of London 2012 with a thrilling victory in the 5,000 metres on the final night of athletics action.

Seven days after claiming Britain's third gold in the space of 45 minutes on 'Super Saturday' in the 10,000m, Farah produced another brilliant performance to complete the long-distance double.

Roared on by a capacity 80,000-strong crowd, Farah hit the front with 700m remaining and was never headed, covering the last lap in under 53 seconds to hold off Ethiopia's Dejen Gebremeskel to win in 13 minutes and 41.66 seconds. Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya claimed bronze.

Just five men in Olympic history had previously taken the 5,000m and 10,000m titles at the same Games - Emil Zatopek of the old Czechoslovakia in 1952, Vladimir Kuts of the USSR in 1956, Finland's Lasse Viren in 1972 and 1976, Miruts Yifter of Ethiopia in 1980 and Kenenisa Bekele, also of Ethiopia, at Beijing four years ago.

Farah's victory also meant Britain have won four track and field golds for only the third time since the Second World War, matching the haul from Tokyo in 1964 and Moscow in 1980.

Farah had looked understandably tired in the heats on Wednesday, after which Gebremeskel acknowledged that running a fast race might be the only way to deny Farah victory.

However, if that was the plan it was curiously ignored as the 15-strong field set out at an incredibly slow pace - with more than one lap taking 73 seconds - 20 more than Farah's closing lap to win the 10,000m.

It took until the midway point of the race for the pace to be wound up but Farah was able to respond and move up to second behind Gebremeskel with three laps to go.

With 700m remaining the 29-year-old hit the front and still led at the bell, at which point he crucially refused to give up his prime position on the inside and accelerated again to stay ahead of the pack.

Gebremeskel, the fastest man in the world this year, briefly closed on Farah down the home straight, but the home favourite was not to be denied a fabulous triumph - and even had the energy to celebrate with a few sit-ups on the track.

Farah said on BBC1: "It's just unbelievable.

"The American guy (Galen Rupp) tried to come past me, but I knew I just had to hold on to it.

"I had great support from the crowd. It means a lot to me."

He was watched by wife Tania, pregnant with twins due imminently, and daughter Rihanna.

"Those two medals are to my two girls that are coming. They're not born yet hopefully," Farah said.

"They're twins so there's one for each. They could arrive any day."

As for his short-term future on the track, Farah said: "I don't know what's going on. I'm taking one race at a time.

"The Olympics doesn't come round often. It's all worked out well.

"I'm just amazed. Two gold medals - who would have thought that?

"I just want to thank everyone who's supported me.

"All my coaches from previous years and all the people who've been involved in my life.

"I can't thank everybody enough.

"I want to say particularly to my wife, with her carrying twins, it hasn't been easy but I didn't want to know about it.

"If anything happens she promised she wouldn't let me know so I'm glad it all worked out well."

He added: "It's been a long journey grafting and grafting, but anything is possible."

Russia's Mariya Savinova then added Olympic gold to her world title with a commanding victory in the 800m in a season's best and world-leading time of 1:56.19.

America's Alysia Johnson Montano led the field through the bell before defending champion Pamela Jelimo hit the front, the Kenyan leading around the top bend but then fading badly down the home straight.

Savinova timed her run to perfection and eased away to finish over a second ahead of the fast-finishing former world champion Caster Semenya, with Jelimo relegated to fourth on the line by Russia's Ekaterina Poistogova.

Farah's training partner Rupp, who took silver in the 10,000m but finished seventh tonight, said: "Everybody's gunning for him and looking for ways to beat him and I think to be able to have such a great two races in front of your home fans, it's huge.

"There's obviously a lot of pressure on him and he did a great job of handling it and just executed better than anybody else."

Trinidad's Keshorn Walcott was the surprise winner of the men's javelin title, the 19-year-old claiming gold by just seven centimetres from Ukraine's Oleksandr Pyatnytsya.

Walcott's second-round throw of 84.58m proved good enough for victory, with Pyatnytsya throwing 84.51m in the third round.

Finland's Antti Ruuskanen claimed the bronze medal with a throw of 84.12m in the fifth round.

Russia's Anna Chicherova claimed high jump gold with a commanding performance, the 30-year-old the only woman to clear 2.05m.

Chicherova had cleared all of her previous heights at the first attempt, and although she needed two attempts to clear 2.05m, that was more than enough after America's Brigetta Barrett and Russia's Svetlana Shkolina failed the same height.

Barrett claimed silver on countback having cleared 2.03m at the second attempt.

The most predictable and emphatic win of the night came in the women's 4x400m relay as the United States stormed to gold.

The quartet of DeeDee Trotter, Allyson Felix, Francena McCorory and Sanya Richards-Ross led from start to finish to beat Russia by almost three and a half seconds.

Jamaica claimed the bronze medal with Britain in fourth.

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