• European Championships

Farah reigns supreme in Helsinki

ESPN staff
June 27, 2012
Mo Farah is one of Great Britain's leading gold medal hopes for London 2012 © PA Photos

Britain's Mo Farah threw down a marker ahead of London 2012 by defending his European 5000m title in style at the European Championships in Helsinki.

Farah, the world champion over the same distance, took up his position in the pack in the early stages, preferring to let others control the pace of the race - his penultimate 5000m before he bids for glory at the London Olympics.

At approximately the six-minute mark, Farah moved through the gears and moved up the field, surging to the front with five laps to run. At the bell, Farah stretched the field, pulling away as has become customary to win by almost two seconds from Germany's Arne Gabius in a time of 13 minutes 29.91 seconds, with Kemboi Arikan taking bronze.

Although the time was more than 30 seconds slower than his world-leading effort set in Oregon earlier this month, it was two seconds better than he managed when he won the title two years ago in Barcelona.

"I knew training has been going well and I recently ran 3:34 for 1500m so I had good speed, but you always have to respect the opposition and I had to work hard and make sure I had a bit left towards the end so I could kick again," Farah said.

In the morning session Great Britain's athletes had a largely disappointing outing as a number of individuals failed to progress, but there was good news in the men's 100m as Mark Lewis-Francis and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey both progressed to the semi-finals after placing fourth and second respectively in their heats.

Aikines-Aryeetey posted a season's best of 10.27s when finishing behind French defending champion Christophe Lemaitre.

Abigail Irozuru did not make the long jump final after registering a 6.19m effort, some way short of the Olympic 'A' standard of 6.75m to be eligible for selection on Monday, and shot putter Carl Myerscough also failed to get into his final after his throw of 19.30m. He needs to reach 20.50m by Sunday evening to secure an automatic Olympic place.

Former Olympic finalist Jeanette Kwakye went out in the heats of the 100m, crossing the line seventh in her heat with a time of 11.98s, but trials winner Ashleigh Nelson did go through with a time of 11.43s and needs to surpass 11.29s before the end of the weekend to book her London 2012 place.

Isobel Pooley failed to reach the Olympic 'A' standard when crashing out of the high jump, and Richard Yates was unable to make it out of the 400m hurdles heats. Nathan Woodward and Rhys Williams are both through to Thursday's semi-finals as they battle it out for the last Olympic spot.

A sixth-placed finish was not enough for Kelly Masey to make it through her 400m heat, while Nicola Sanders was forced to pull out with illness. However, Lee McConnell progressed after running 52.58s to claim second place in her heat.

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