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Happy endings as GB start with bang

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Tom Fordyce | 23:21 UK time, Tuesday, 27 July 2010

There were three particularly lovely moments in the giddy aftermath of Mo Farah's 10,000m gold and Chris Thompson's silver in the Estadio Olympico on Tuesday evening.

The first was Farah crossing the line arms outstretched, eyeballs popping, unconsciously replicating Kelly Holmes' famous pose as she celebrated her own golden moment in Athens six years ago.

The second was Thompson's reaction when grabbed by BBC Sport's Phil Jones for his reaction. "That was the greatest half-an-hour of my life," he gasped, before insisting he was off for a beer.

The third was Thompson, still disbelieving, planting a sloppy kiss atop his teammate's sweaty shaved head.

For both these men, Tuesday night represented the culmination of two very different but equally tortuous sporting journeys. That they celebrated in such liberated and unbridled fashion tells its own tale of the struggles both have endured.

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Farah storms to gold in 10,000m (UK only)

Farah, arriving in Britain in 1993 from Mogadishu as a nine-year-old refugee, was almost immediately in trouble. Among the very few English phrases his father had taught him were 'where is the toilet?' and 'come on then'. Unfortunately, on his first day at school, he made the mistake of saying the latter to the local hard-nut and, in his own words, got 'twatted'.

That he developed as any sort of athlete at all was in large part due to the persistence of his PE teacher at Isleworth and Syon school in west London, Alan Watkinson.

Watkinson not only spotted his raw ability but bribed him into giving up his beloved football for athletics. Aged 13, he entered his first English schools cross country championships and finished ninth. The following year, Watkinson offered to buy him a football shirt if he won. He did, and went on to win in each of the next four years. Brentham United lost a right-back, but Britain found a rare talent.

Even then he was nearly led down the wrong path. Farah likes to have fun. Even in Tuesday's final he was grinning at his opponents, wagging his finger at others and looking behind him to wave Thompson closer. In his early 20s, it was more about the partying; he once stripped naked and jumped from Kingston Bridge into the River Thames.

Back in 2003, Thompson out-sprinted Farah to win the 5,000m title at the European under-23 championships. While Farah took note of his errors and began a more austere lifestyle, eventually moving in with a group of top Kenyan runners in Teddington and doing nothing but "sleep, eat, train and rest", Thompson found himself beset by injury.

At several points his career looked finished. When Farah was taking European 5,000m silver in Gothenburg four years ago, Thompson was trailing home last in such obvious pain that his grandfather, watching at home on television, burst into tears.

Salvation came slowly, in the shape of three different individuals: his long-term UK-based coach John Nuttall; Mark Rowland, the former Olympic steeplechase bronze medalist who took him under his wing at the Oregon Track Club in the US; and his girlfriend, British 800m runner Jemma Simpson.

Nuttall has provided the coaching, Rowland the environment and training-group, Simpson the support.

Simpson could not bear to watch in person on Tuesday. Half an hour earlier she had stormed into the 800m final, and was getting a massage deep in the bowels of the stadium as her boyfriend justified her faith in him.

It was Thompson - clad in the same luminous orange spikes that Simpson had sported in her heat - who made the first big move, hitting the front with 3400m left, but Farah was straight onto his heels.

With five and a half laps to go, Farah hit the front, taking home favourite Ayad Lamdassem with him. Thompson dropped back, seemingly spent, but he hadn't come this far to let it all slip away once again.

"I thought, I've got to give everything here," he said afterwards. "I'd been reading Steve Redgrave's book before the race, and he talked about once thinking he was gone halfway through a race, only to find his strength came back. That inspired me. I thought, this is my gold medal."

Farah, running with complete ease and confidence, kicked past Lamdassem with 300m to go and never looked back. Thompson, digging deep within himself, found the strength to fight past the Spaniard and hold off Italy's Daniele Meucci.

Britain had its first ever male gold medallist in a European 10,000m final. Farah and Thompson had finally fulfilled their youthful potential.

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Farah says gold down to hard work (UK only)

"These medals make such a statement for British distance running," says Steve Cram, European champion over 1500m in 1982 and 1986. "Chris is such a great story. His career was written off - everyone had given up on him, he'd given up on himself, he was off funding - but he always had that ability.

"His medal will be hugely popular in athletics clubs up and down the country, with cross country runners and club runners who have raced against him, who he always had time for. So many athletes have been in the same position - full of talent, but struggling with injuries and failing to convert - but he stuck at it.

"The people around him convinced him that if he could get injury-free he could still do it, and he showed the dedication to do it - taking odd jobs to make ends meet, really committing to what he was doing, keeping the faith when he could so easily have given up."

British men's distance running has been waiting for a moment like this for a long time. Four years ago there wasn't even a British male in the final, let alone one at the last Olympics or World Championships.

Watching in the main grandstand, cheering himself hoarse, was Ian Stewart - European 5,000m gold medallist 31 years ago and now UK Athletics' head of endurance. Alongside him, wearing a grin almost as wide, was Dave Bedford, former world record holder over 10,000m.

Distance running in 2010 is in a very different place to when those two were producing world-beating performances in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But the changes Stewart has made since taking his new job 20 months ago - such as bringing the 10,000m back to the GB Trials - may be starting to turn around the long decline.

"Teams for distance events have been shut down," says Cram. "We haven't sent anyone to some events. But these two athletes have shown other British men that you can compete on the big stage."

And what of the naysayers who might grouch that these are 'only' European medals, that the world and Olympic distance finals will remain the preserve of the Kenyans and Ethiopians?

"Britain has never won this gold before. We've had years without an entry in the event. This is absolutely a big achievement.

"I'm a believer that when you get to Worlds and Olympics, you want British athletes in the big finals. And if you don't have athletes competing and winning in European finals, we won't have that.

"Farah and Thompson would go into any distance race and be competitive. There is nothing wrong with finishing in the top seven at the World Championships. This result gives young British athletes something to believe in. If American and Australian men can win distance medals, why can't we?"

As first days of championships go, it was everything GB head coach Charles van Commenee could have hoped for. Phillips Idowu breezed into the triple jump final with his first and only effort, Dwain Chambers looked in fine shape in the 100m heats and both Jenny Meadows and Simpson will go into Friday's 800m final with medals on their minds.

But it is Farah and Thompson, the old friends and old rivals come good, who have really kick-started the British charge. And there is still the 5,000m to come.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I'm not a fan of Mo's fluff under he's chin, but it was his show today.

    Fantastic win and great second for Chris after all the injuries and patience for his talent to come through.

    Mo's confidence really shone through in that race, urging his team mate on mid way through and pushing the spaniard to take the lead when everyne else would'nt have, brilliant stuff.

  • Comment number 2.

    Really impressive from Mo and Chris. I was a touch apathetic about these championships (fair weather fan...), but my faith has been restored. Very well done, lads, hopefully spur on the team to bigger and better things i.e. loads more medals:-)

  • Comment number 3.

    Congratulations Mo and Chris. Mo was brilliant but I'm so happy to see Chris up there. Racing against him at school, he blew everyone away. To see him up on the podium is fantastic! Let's hope the injuries are behind him and he and Mo can help each other compete for medals at 2012

  • Comment number 4.

    Just to put things in perspective, Farah's time would have got him 4th place in the World Junior Championships. Let's not get carried away here.

  • Comment number 5.

    Buzzing for Mo Farrah. He's a good athlete, but on the track he's not world class so he's never going to be getting near Olympic and World titles as they get shared between Kenyans and Ethiopians, so it's important for him to win the championships he can win, like the Euros and the Commonwealths.

  • Comment number 6.

    If you'd actually been in the stadium and watching the race, you'd have noticed the really beautiful moment, Farrah, knowing he'd win this race whatever happened, urging the Spaniard into the lead, and then turning around and looking for Thompson, and urging him to push forward. For the last 2 laps, all Farrah cared about was medalling Thompson, his tactics were about that and nothing less. Thompson acknowledged that to us British fans in the stadium. It was a beautiful moment, I was so glad that Thompson responded, because that was what Farrah wanted so much.
    Contrast that to the comments in the stadium and in Internet forums about the 'Spanishness' of Ayad Lamdassen ... as a long-term British expatriate in Spain, that race brought back a pride in my country that I lost a long time ago

  • Comment number 7.

    @Excumbrian True, but did it ever look like he was running for a fast time? He jogged the first section of the race at the back of the pack - it wasn't about a time, it was about winning and getting Thompson a silver. His PB is almost exactly a minute quicker than his time today, so he was running well within himself.

    The depressing thing is that the best 10,000m runners run another 30 seconds faster than Mo's PB, so he has some way to go before he can challenge right at the top level. He may never quite get there, but I'd bet on him beating Jon Brown's British record next season.

  • Comment number 8.

    @6 Good call. You were one of the few people that watched the same race I was watching. Farad was ultra confident. He had the race won before he started. From half-way Farad's ever changing 'on-the-fly' tactics were all about getting Thompson a medal. The first move was 'We're going now, come on.' When he realised Thompson could go with him, he slowed and let the Spaniard through . . . and subsequently destroyed all hope for the him (he ended up walking across the line in 4th place).

    Strange, football is a team sport and they seem to 'talk' about being a team. Athletics is an individual sport but when ever people are interviewed the team spirit shines through.

  • Comment number 9.

    I( do have some sympathy with those who suggest it is 'only' the European Championships. Whilst in many of the field events and some of the track events this makes it a genuine stepping stone towards the Olympics and WCs, when it comes to distance running it is no kind of marker. Ten Kenyans already this year have exceeded Farrah's PB from Marseilles last month. I'm sorry if I'm ruining things here but everybody discussing our athlete's potential for 2012 has said that it is the medals that matter, and Farrah is a long, long way from being a genuine medal contender.

    That said, this doesn't mean it wasn't a great personal achievement. 3rd best time by a GB runner ever and a testament to a fella who made some silly choices for an athlete early in his career and then made the tough call to genuinely commit himself to his racing. He now has great reward for that and I'm chuffed for him.

    On another note, it is nice to finally see a Spaniard miss out on a win! Not wanting to sound nasty, but with the World Cup, the Grand Prix, the Tour de France, the Triathlon etc etc they do seem to have been getting a little greedy!!!

  • Comment number 10.

    The ideas about time ignore the fact that most championship races are slow with sprint finishes as opposed to Diamond League meets with pace makers to set quick times.

  • Comment number 11.

    A nice moment for Farah and Thompson, but if this is really the "culmination" of their journey then that is pretty depressing for British athletics. One would have hoped that, for Farah at least, the "culmination" would be a World or Olympic medal.

  • Comment number 12.

    It was marvellous to see Farrah waving Thompson on, he wanted his mate to get the medal, and that bit of extra encouragement did him the power of good.

    I agree that our boys have some way to go before they can genuinely challenge the Ethiopeans and Kenyans in the distance events, but this can only be a step in the right direction.

    This Euro gold and silver will bring exposure to distance running, thus hopefully inspiring more to have a go, which should bring more funds to distance runners, which in turn should help our runners become more competitive.

    Good job all round, and great blog Tom..

  • Comment number 13.

    I have no problem with Mo's achievement, extremely well done. However I somehow think it pales into relative insignificance especially when compared Alistair Brownlee's run of 28.40 for a 10k on a road course at the end of the London triathlon. Imagine what this boy would be capable of if he applied himself to this event and he's only 22

  • Comment number 14.

    #5
    it's important for him to win the championships he can win, like the Euros and the Commonwealths.....
    I thought Kenya was in the commonwealth!
    or do their athletes only try in the worlds and olympics!
    I think the old adage that "you can only beat what is put in front of you" rings true....the "you have no chance because they are better than you", explains a lot of British under achievement.
    Go out to win, somebody has to and you're all running the same distance and that means you have a chance.

  • Comment number 15.

    A he was expected to win, and he delivered. You can only beat the opposition put in front of him so this should give him the confidence that winning a major. I assume he will do the Commonwealth's as that should pit him against some of the Kenyans.

    Also, does anyone know what flag he had when he was celebrating? I didn't recognize it.

  • Comment number 16.

    Little Mo - What an absolute hero - I'd love to plant a kiss atop his sweaty little shaved head.

    A Gold in Barcelona, he'll set a British record in 2011, then be at his peak in London 2012...

    What a guy - and a suberb role model to young athletes. Well done Little Mo.

  • Comment number 17.

    and a great blog Tom F

  • Comment number 18.

    #13 re. awesome triathlon times - a triathlon "10k" run leg isn't necessarily a certified 10000m; I believe eg. in London a year or two ago the website stated the distance as 9500m.
    (not that it isn't a mind-boggling performance by the triathlon elites)

  • Comment number 19.

    Mo was taught by Alan Watkinson at Feltham Community School (now Feltham Community College), that's when his name started appearing in the Chronicle, the local paper.

  • Comment number 20.

    "I have no problem with Mo's achievement, extremely well done. However I somehow think it pales into relative insignificance especially when compared Alistair Brownlee's run of 28.40 for a 10k on a road course at the end of the London triathlon. Imagine what this boy would be capable of if he applied himself to this event and he's only 22"

    The naivity of this comment is unbelivable, Alistairs actual PB for 10000m is 29.35 this on a proper IAAF course,not a short triathlon course (which im sure Alistair would admitt) Whilst Alistair is a class triathlete he is not in the same leauge as thses pair in terms of running alone. Farah and Thompson have both run around 27.30 with Farah capable of much faster. To be blunt Alistair would likely be lapped twice if he was to race Chris or Mo.

  • Comment number 21.

    Congratulations to both - tremendous stuff. You can't ask anyone to do more than beat the opposition in the race, so I reckon a gold and a silver are rather more significant than any specific race times.

  • Comment number 22.

    Regardless of who else was in the race, you have to win it. So well done Mo (and Thompson). So what if their PBs are slower than their global contempories?! If it stimulates other British long distance runners (which success always will), then their success is only the start...

  • Comment number 23.

    I think you meant 41 years ago...

  • Comment number 24.

    Is it necessary to use the word 'twatted' on a BBC authorized blog...?

  • Comment number 25.

    I drunk my way out of health as a youngster. Now, at 30, I'm getting fit and training for my first marathon later this year. For anyone trying to put down the significance of these medals or the performance, why bother? It is simply great to see healthy people pursuing healthy interests and being successful at whatever level they can. Even if they don't medal at the olympics, they will still be olympians, which is more than 99.9% percent of us can say.

    Seeing Brits winning any distance event insires people like myself to keep putting the miles in towards our own meagre goals and youngsters to get fit and live right. If I finish the marathon, it will feel like an olympic gold to me. I'm sure that at some time over the next couple of months, as I trudge the roads at 7am or hit the wall at 17 miles in the marathon, I'll have my own "sticky patch" - perhaps I will think of Mo and Chris and it will spur me on.

    So, again, well done lads.

  • Comment number 26.

    Well done to Mo & Chris. Yes it's not against the Africans but they should still enjoy the moment & celebrate it. I hope they strive to do their best & compete as well as they can on the world stage but I do fear they just won't be good enough against the Ethipians & Kenyans not to mention the latest recruits by the Middle East countries.

    #13 Alastair is a great runner & represented the GB U23 team at last year's European Cross Country champs. However given that he's the reigning world Triathlon champion it's probably best he sticks at that before the africans take up swimming & cycling LOL.

  • Comment number 27.

    Some lovely chat here.

    charliep27 - where did you finish against Chris?

    sportsmatter - where were you sitting? You'll have to give us a wave if you're back over the next few days.

    0darroch, rich1234, spectrumwins - nice points. Championship races completely different beast to other track meets.

    tomabarlow123 - thanks buddy. Me + maths = answer - correct

    Everyone - thoughts on the 5,000m? Reckon the GB pair will be inspired or exhausted?

  • Comment number 28.

    Its a wonderful result for British Athletics. When truth homes in let us not kid ourselves that a time of 28:24.99 would have placed Mo Farah at no. 28 in the 10,000 metres finals in Beijing. This was the slowest winning time since 1974 in the Europeans.
    So good result - Yes. It is a step in the right direction
    Worth celebrating - No. It was a poor technical race especially the Spaniards who have run sub 28 previously.

  • Comment number 29.

    @ icekul
    Eh? Farah wasnt running for time he was runinng for a medal. If the pace of the race had been quicker then Farah would of been quicker too. You can only race what is there. No point going for it if you can win comfortably. He still has the 5000m to go.

    That is the problem with this country. Too many people are to quick to knock the achievements of others. Let us celebrate at the moment because GB athletics hasn't had much to celebrate in recent years.

  • Comment number 30.

    5. At 02:10am on 28 Jul 2010, Gavelaa wrote:
    Buzzing for Mo Farrah. He's a good athlete, but on the track he's not world class so he's never going to be getting near Olympic and World titles as they get shared between Kenyans and Ethiopians, so it's important for him to win the championships he can win, like the Euros and the Commonwealths.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think you'll find that Kenya is in the Commonwealth.

  • Comment number 31.

    I can't believe Ian Stewart is 61. I know running keeps you healthy but he could still be in his forties.

  • Comment number 32.

    #15 Number6Valverde

    The other flag is for Somalia

  • Comment number 33.

    Excumbrian - you're obviously not clued up about major athletics championships. It's not about the times, it's about getting the medals.

  • Comment number 34.

    The comments relating to Alistair Brownlee are completely irrelevant.
    They are right regarding triathlon Vs track PB times in the sense that the difference between top track athletes tends to come down to seconds rather than minutes, so a gap of a minute or so in PB is quite big. However, the comparison is pretty meaningless – it’s like trying to debate who’s a “better” cyclist between Chris Hoy and Alberto Contador – they are totally different events.
    The fact that in an Olympic distance triathlon the 10k run comes straight off the back of gruelling swim and bike courses should not be ignored, nor should Alistair Brownlee's exceptional talent and achievements. Incidentally, Tim Don has a better straight 10k PB than anybody else on the pro triathlon circuit, but how often does he beat Alistair Brownlee these days..?
    Can we just stick to debating Mo Farrah, Chris Thompson and the Athletics without straying in to sports are obviously misunderstood?

  • Comment number 35.

    Hey, it wouldn't be a BBC site without people commenting on sports they have no clue about!

    It was just a 'job done' night for Mo - and a great one for Chris, who was really the biggest story of the night, both nice guys and deserve the plaudits, whilst recognising there is still work to do!

    Good to see a few mentions for our coach at Luton, Tony Simmons, who won silver in 74. Top bloke still putting time back into the sport for free.

  • Comment number 36.

    I'm definately an arm chair athelete, but that race was just awesome to watch.
    #6 you're spot on, that race was about two mates working for each other to get medals. It was almost as if Mo let the Spaniard come to the front before retaking the lead to give Chris the best chance of silver.
    As to their times, they did the first 1k in a pedestrian 3 minutes, so no wonder it was slow, but who cares, they won, they are the best in Europe.
    Will they struggle to medal at The Worlds, The Olympics, or even against the Kenyans at The Commonwealth)? Probably, but let's bask in the fact that Britain has the top two 10k runners in Europe!!
    Bring on the 5k later in the week. Do you think there's a potential for a Coe/Ovett 1980 Moscow Olympics moment (i.e. both winning gold in the others event)? I hope so...

  • Comment number 37.

    Farah and Thompson have made their mark. You have to give them credit. But what is the legacy of this success? I think it's all about sustainability. Their medals need back-up measures to help British long-distance running maintain the progression. These measures should especially address the needs of youth and junior athletes. What is needed are a knowledgable coaching staff and concerted planning. The ball is in the UK Athletics' court. Thorough commitment, open-mindedness and patience are key in the upcoming years.

  • Comment number 38.

    Fabulous, fabulous race by the two. I grew up watching the feats of Dave Bedford (who I met at Crystal Palace one afternoon, some years later) and Brendan Foster but, however talented, the big one always escaped. Watching the distress of Mo Farah at the end of the world Cross Country I wondered if he would be a Bedford-like nearly guy who gave everything, but always ended up beaten by someone who had a blinder on the day. Watching on Spanish TV they were supremely confident that there was a real chance of a Spanish 1-2-3, but Mo was just brilliant and Chris Thompson showed amazing guts to hang on to silver on the dip (half a stride later the Italian was in front).

    It was magic and made all the better by the romantic story behind Mo and his waving of the Somali flag, jointly with the Union Flag, showing that you can love both your roots and your adopted nation.

    Hopefully I'll be in London in 2012 to cheer Mo on to gold.

  • Comment number 39.

    It was realy good to see this televised on the Beeb and given the air-time with the post race celebrations it deserved too.

    Fantastic race.

  • Comment number 40.

    Nice to see the UK athletics team employ the same succesful formula that the English Cricket team uses.........

  • Comment number 41.

    Looking at the greater scheme of things, this race was not world class by any imagination. What is significant is that Mo, who won it, although not born in the UK, has all his athletics upbringing there. Also, Chris is born in the UK and, like Mo, a product of the UK athletics systems. Neither of the two are very talented by any measure. But they have worked hard, very hard, been patient, and endured the pain of what it means to be a distance runner. Yesterday, there were kids out there in the UK who watched these two and thought, guess what, I want to be like that too. Kids who could be really talented. What the two did was isnpirational and uplifting.
    I have been to Kenya and seen middle and long distance runners train. They train brutally hard. Just when you think that you have seen someone train hard, you'll see another train harder. This is the only difference between Kenyan runners and runners from anywhere else in Europe. The running culture and mental toughness. Unfortunately you in the UK lost that some 20 years ago. You look at times run by people like Anders Garderud of Sweden (8:08 for the 3000 SC) in 1976! And there is a general belief that middle distance is only for Kenyans and Ethiopians?
    For me, there is no reason why the UK or any other European country should not be able to produce world class middle distance runners. Wilson Kipketer was asked why he was good and where there could be any Europeans who could do the same. His answer was 'money makes me run, maybe they don't need it'. Spot on Wilson.
    Anyway, hope Mo and Chris have started something here. Athletics, especially the track, needs Europeans and Americans. Diversity is great for the sport and good for everyone.

  • Comment number 42.

    I remember years ago at the Enlish schools cross country at Luton when one of the boys i coached came 106th Mo won by a country mile on a quagmie of a course, you could see he was one to watch for the future then

  • Comment number 43.

    As others have said the world best opposition might not have been running last night, but you still have to win your race against the runners at the time. The England football team wasn't playing against the world's best in the first round of the world cup, but they couldn't beat them. Well done Mo and Chris you did us proud.

  • Comment number 44.

    Blimey Man, I was exhausted watching those two run !! More, I say, and well done to everyone concerned.
    Michael Johnson, Collin Jackson, Steve Cram, Brendan Foster, Denise Lewis, Jonathan Edwards, Sally Gunnell and other former athletes should be employed coaching and passing on their experience to young athletes instead of depriving professional broadcasters what they're trained to do, that is broadcasting. Come on BBC, set proper examples !!

  • Comment number 45.

    WELL DONE MO FARAH, ABSOLUTELY WORLD CLASS PERFORMANCE!! FANTASTIC SPORTSMANSHIP FOR ENCOURAGING CHRIS THOMPSON ALONG IN THAT RACE TOO.

    KEEP THE GOLD ROLLING IN AGAIN PLEASE @ 5K MO FARAH. THEN, NEXT TARGET = THE OLYMPICS!!

  • Comment number 46.

    40. At 4:25pm on 28 Jul 2010, JamTay1 wrote:

    Nice to see the UK athletics team employ the same succesful formula that the English Cricket team uses.........

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not sure that comment is fair, Mo moved here as an asylum seeker aged just 10. He didn't speak English and has developed completely as an athlete in the UK. Not to mention Somalia is not a recognised country for competing.

    Congrats to both Mo and Chris, i agree with the comments that Mo had this race won before he got on the track. He was so much faster than the other athletes that he could trust to his ability to win the race from any position. As for the Spaniard, it was a tactically naive race. He did just about everything wrong he could have done.

  • Comment number 47.

    Nice to see the UK athletics team employ the same succesful formula that the English Cricket team uses.........

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not sure that comment is fair, Mo moved here as an asylum seeker aged just 10. He didn't speak English and has developed completely as an athlete in the UK. Not to mention Somalia is not a recognised country for competing.
    ____________________________________________________________________

    Not sure Mo was an asylum seeker. His father was born and raised in Hounslow in west London. If he was a footballer for example, he could have chosen to play for England without ever visiting the UK. Like Prince Kevin Boateng playing for Ghana, for example.

  • Comment number 48.

    @ Woody #33

    I have followed athletics closely since the late 60s. I was present when Brendan Foster broke the world 3000m record in Gateshead in 1974. I am well familiar with athletics championships.

    I made the point that Farah's time not to belittle his achievement in winning the European title, but to inject some reality. If anyone believes that Farah will be a contender in London 2012, without a major quantum leap in performance, they are kidding themselves. I compared Farah's time to those run in another major final (i.e. the World Juniors) when surely the athletes involved were also running for places, not times.

  • Comment number 49.

    Great piece, came to read this after watching Channel4 news coverage of the win. Jon Snow described Mo as a face of new Britain and he was spot on. As a Hounslow native myself (as is Mo) I am really proud to see him represent for west London, hope he's a Brentford fan...

    @sportsmatter great post, as a Londoner of Basque descent I know how racist Spain can be (albeit mainly with a small r) and how far they are lagging behind the UK in this respect.

    Bet the BNP/EDL are hating Mo's win!

    Bring on London 2012, let's show the world how it's done in London: The world in one city.

  • Comment number 50.

    Is it just me, or have the contents of this blog been edited significantly since it was first posted?

  • Comment number 51.

    Let us stop glorifying where Farah came from and how bad his English was when he was teen. Just praise him for winning gold for Britain. I am sure if a native Brit lad taken to Mogadishu at young Farah’s age, he would not even know how to ask for toilet but at least young Farah was able to ask for that information. This is typical manifestation of superiority syndrome over others in this country.

  • Comment number 52.

    #24 twatted is a good word. You may even be able to use it in scrabble. Sure, it may not be scrabblable (usable in Scrabble) yet, but that's just a matter of time. Tom's being a trendsetter - stop dissing him for that.

    Wonder what happened to the bully who twatted Mo - nothing positive, I hope.

    Also how much money Mo would have made if the athletics coach hadn't bribed him away from football. On the other hand, very few football crazy youngsters ever get to be professional footballers in even their country's second division, so never mind.

    Thanks to #6 for the explanation of race tactics.

  • Comment number 53.

    Wonder if whatever new regulations that the Tories are planning on immigration would have allowed Mo's family into the UK ... that said, 1993 was a Tory year.

  • Comment number 54.

    "As for the Spaniard, it was a tactically naive race. He did just about everything wrong he could have done. "

    ---------------

    Well, Spanish TV is now anticipating 1-2-3 in the Men's 1500m after seeing their runners dominate totally the semi-finals :-).

  • Comment number 55.

    Sporty-Morty wrote:

    I'm definately an arm chair athelete, but that race was just awesome to watch.
    #6 you're spot on, that race was about two mates working for each other to get medals. It was almost as if Mo let the Spaniard come to the front before retaking the lead to give Chris the best chance of silver.
    As to their times, they did the first 1k in a pedestrian 3 minutes, so no wonder it was slow, but who cares, they won, they are the best in Europe.
    Will they struggle to medal at The Worlds, The Olympics, or even against the Kenyans at The Commonwealth)? Probably, but let's bask in the fact that Britain has the top two 10k runners in Europe!!
    Bring on the 5k later in the week. Do you think there's a potential for a Coe/Ovett 1980 Moscow Olympics moment (i.e. both winning gold in the others event)? I hope so...
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think you will find Ovett won bronze in the 1500m in Moscow 1980

  • Comment number 56.

    sorry Sporty, did not read your post correctly.

  • Comment number 57.

    I would like to point out Mohammed Farah actually comes from Hargeisa, Somaliland, which was the flag he was waving. And not Mogadishu, Somalia as Tom Fordyce reports.

 

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