Farah makes history as GB end record-breaking Euros on high

17 August 2014 / 17:54

Mo Farah became the most successful individual athlete in European Championships history as Great Britain won five golds on the final day in Zurich to make it a record-breaking meeting to remember.

Double Olympic champion Farah, who was forced to miss the Commonwealth Games through illness, had already taken his tally to four European golds when he won the 10,000m title on Wednesday.

And the 31-year-old followed that up with victory in Sunday’s 5,000m, racing clear of the field in the last lap to cross in 14:05.82 minutes, with Andy Vernon taking bronze to add to his 10,000m silver.

In a breathless two hours in Zurich's Letzigrund Stadium, there were also golds for Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford, the men’s 4x400m relay quartet and both 4x100m sprint teams.

It means Great Britain finished the Championships with 23 medals and top of the medal tally for only the third time in European Championships history while their 12 golds beat the previous best from 1998 and 1990.

Farah said:  “It’s fantastic for our country and for all the people who have supported us over the years.

“It’s a great Championships for all the team, I know we have got a young team, particularly the relay but we have done well overall.

“History is important and it’s great to make my country proud and win medals for my country.

“There have been some down times this year but I got over it. The race went well and I just wanted to stay at the front and stay out of trouble.”

It proved to be a day of records with the women’s 4x100m quartet of Asha Philip, Ashleigh Nelson, Jodie Williams and Desiree Henry another standout performance.

The team, with an average age of 21 and led home by 18-year-old Henry, brought the baton back in 42.24 seconds ahead of France to break the national record that had stood for 34 years.

Newly crowned 200m champion Adam Gemili also ensured the same medal colour for the men’s 4x100m team, as he held off the challenge of Germany and France to win comfortably in 37.93 seconds.

Gemili was joined by James Ellington, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Richard Kilty and the latter admitted it had been a day to savour.

“It’s been amazing, every Championships I’ve been in I’ve got a medal but I’ve got to thank all the guys,” he said.

“We’ve just gone and smashed it, the girls have gone and smashed it with a British record, two gold medals.

“There is so much enthusiasm and confidence in the team now, we are all gelling together, it’s amazing, it’s one of the best experiences we have had this year. We’re blowing away the past.”

The men’s 4x400m relay team of Conrad Williams, Matthew Hudson-Smith, Michael Bingham and Martyn Rooney also took the title in a time of 2:58.79 minutes for the third-fastest time in championships history and the fastest time by a British squad in 16 years.

And the women’s 4x400m relay team finished with bronze after a tight photo finish between France and Ukraine.

Elsewhere Rutherford continued a successful summer, adding European gold to the Commonwealth title he won in Glasgow with a fourth round jump of 8.29m.

 “It is a real sense of relief because I was seeing how well the British team was doing and everybody was saying to me, 'You have to go out and do it.' I was so pleased I could,” he said.

“It's been a pretty good year, I'm a little bit disappointed I haven't been able to get back to the shape I was in when I jumped the 8.51m national record in April but I'm a consistent and competitive championships performer and I enjoyed today.”

While there was also a bronze for Chris O’Hare in the men’s 1500m although teammate Charlie Grice saw his hopes hit after a fall on the last lap, eventually finishing 12th.

© Sportsbeat 2014