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Farah adds European Indoor title to his list

Double European Champion Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar) added a European Indoor title to his list of honours on the second day of competition at the European Indoor Championships in Paris. He claimed 3000m gold for the Aviva GB&NI team in a close fought race.

Mo Farah Paris 2011

Mo Farah Paris 2011

With an air of confidence and his recognisable long stride Farah controlled the race, leading throughout and setting a quick pace. Hayle Ibrahimov (AZE) was on his shoulder, shadowing his moves but did not take on the running, leaving it to the defending champion to do the work. On the home straight Ibrahimov made his move but Farah had enough left in the tank to out-sprint his rival and take the win, stopping the clock at 7:53.00.

“I wanted that. I knew from experience that I needed to have something left in the tank so when he came at me I had something. It’s nice to achieve what I have achieved, I want to take home as many medals as possible and I now want to go and do well in Degu and I’m a lot strong than I was two years ago I’ve definitely improved.”

Farah’s teammate Andy Baddeley (coach: Andrew Hobdell) ran a solid race too, staying in contention throughout, despite advancements and changes within the group. He finished in a seasons best time of 7:54.49 but just missed out on a podium place.

“I don’t feel like I messed that up. I did everything possible and on the last 200m every time he went I went too  but he got me on the line. Once the disappointment of not medalling goes I will be able to take some positives out of this.”

Bronze for Buck

In the men’s 400m final, the final race of the day, Richard Buck (coach: Steve Fudge) won the second British medal in a tight contest which saw teammate Richard Strachan (coach: Linford Christie) also challenge for a medal.

Both went off strong, along with Frenchman Leslie Djhone, and for more than 300m Strachan was in second with Buck just behind. But Strachan faded as the challenge of Germany’s Thomas Schneider became too much while Buck held on to take bronze in 46.62.

“It’s great to have a medal but I’m disappointed because I went out for the win. That French guy was so fast,he’s an animal. I knew I had to get a clean run without disrupting my rhythm so I had to ease off at one point. I’m more experienced indoors than Rich (Strachan) which I guess means I can make decisions faster, mainly because I’ve made so many wrong ones previously! Bronze means I didn’t run fast enough and wasn’t prepared. I’ll come back in two years and get gold.”

A lactic stricken Strachan, who finished in fifth with 46.74, was happy with his ‘go out hard’ approach to the race: “Anyone wearing a GB vest should try to win and that’s what I did. I gave it everything. If you go out for bronze you’ve lost before you started”

Other Aviva GB&NI performances:

Jenny Meadows (coach: Trevor Painter) impressed in the second semi-final of the 800m leading from gun to tape in an show of confidence and stamina. She controlled the pace and the pack to her liking and ran hard until the line for a 2:00.65 finish.

“That went to plan I wanted to get out there under control and I wanted to win. I’m not trying to put too much onto myself. I just want to come off the track tomorrow look in the mirror and know I’ve done everything.

Marilyn Okoro (coach: Ayo Falola) was in a favourable position throughout her 800m semi-final .The Lee Valley based athlete held third place at the bell and then battled with both Russian representatives on the final loop which led her to a 2:02.65 third place finish and qualification.

““I had a different head on today and I wanted to be in that final badly. I aimed to keep in the top three and not panic and I stuck to my plan. Anything can happen now, I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

Jodie Williams (coach: Mike McFarlane) grasped a place in the final of the 60m with a personal best performance of 7.21. In lane eight, from which it is difficult to be pushed to fast times by the field, she finished the close run semi-final in fourth.

“This morning was hard but I’m calmer this afternoon. I wanted to try and qualify in 4th place and that’s what I did. It’s always a confidence boost going into a final with a PB.”

Bernice Wilson (coach: George Skafidas) was just out of contention in her race, finishing in fifth with 7.28 and losing a place in the final by a whisker.

“Bit gutted but that’s how it goes. It was a great experience at my first major champs. It was so close you start to think 100th of a second what if?”

Dwain Chambers won his semi-final in 6.61, another solid performance from the defending champion, which earned him a place in tomorrow’s final. While Joel Fearon (coach: Michael Khmel) finished in third in his race clocking 6.69. He missed out on a fastest looser place, both of which went to athletes from the quick second semi-final which was won by Christophe Lemaitre in a European leading time of 6.55.

Chambers said: “I’ve got to run really fast in that final to do it. Instinctively I want to explode out of the blocks and come flying out for the first 20m but training to improve my 100m means I need to be more controlled in my starts. It means a lot to be defending champion and I’ll be relying on my experience tomorrow.”

Fearon said: “I’m not too happy with that and I need to raise my game at the big competitions. Hopefully you’ll see me in a GB vest again soon. At the start I was tight and scared and I had big names all around me. I need to get a sense of belonging in a race like that. This is all about experience into 2011.”

Following a nail biting first round, in which he risked qualification at the last moment, Andrew Osagie (coach: Craig Winrow) returned to competition in the 800m semi-final to prove a point and he did just that putting out a tactically astute race. He finished first, in style, clocking 1:49.02.

“That was confident and comfortable and I felt really good. I stayed out of the way and timed it perfectly. I got in front and stayed strong. Making finals in GB vests is what it’s all about.”

In the second semi-final of the 800m, as the group kicked in on the bend, Joe Thomas (coach: Arwyn Davies) wasn’t in a position to challenge. He sat towards the back of the group, not mid pack with the ability to contest. As they moved away the Welshman managed to stay in contact but couldn’t get into the mix. He finished in sixth in 1:51.44.

“I felt flat from the start and I lacked any finish. I felt confident going into that and I’m disappointed not to go through as the final was my aim.”

Nick McCormick’s (coach: Lindsay Dunn) tactics didn’t give him the edge he had planned against an experienced European field in the men’s 1500m. He remained content in the middle of the group, planning his attack, but the others did the same meaning a flat out fight for places. He finished fifth in 3:48.65 and does not progress to the final.

“That was too slow. I thought I’d pick up the pace with 600m to go but so did everyone else. I’ve got to learn from that.”

Colin McCourt (coach: Craig Winrow) struggled to keep up with the quick pace set by the leader European bronze medallist Manuel Olmedo (SPA) and spent much of the race trying to get himself out of last place. With every lap the competitors grew faster and left McCourt trailing to a 3:52.56 finish, not representative of what the 26 year old can do.

“I was dead I had nothing in me. That was terrible I bottled it, I had been tipped to get a medal and I was just pathetic. It was embarrassing. I didn’t justify any of the support or funding I’ve been given.”