CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE in RIO DE JANEIRO: Mo Farah claimed a historic gold medal in the men’s 10,000m on an athletics night at the Rio 2016 Olympics in which British track and field favourites pusued an almost unthinkable London 2012 reprise.
However, while Farah recovered from tumbling over in the 10,000m to become the first British track and field athlete to win three Olympic gold medals, the Super Saturday repeat was marginally beyond Jessica Ennis(-Hill) and Greg Rutherford in the heptathlon and long jump respectively.
The 33-year-old Farah, by contrast, powered past Kenya’s Paul Tanui in the final 100m to take the gold, with Tanui claiming silver. Tamirat Tola of Ethiopa took the bronze.
Farah said later: “I wasn’t going to let it go. I got up quickly. I thought about my family. It made me emotional. I thought ‘get through, get through’. I believed in myself.”
Ennis-Hill narrowly missed out on gold herself after being beaten in the heptathlon by Belgium’s Nafi Thiam. The London 2012 Olympic champion was leading after day one but fell behind to Thiam after the long jump on day two and further behind after the javelin contest on Saturday evening.
Ennis-Hill needed to win the 800m by a nine second gap to clinch gold. She came within a second of pulling off the remarkable stunt but had to settle for silver.
This still caps an incredible effort from the Brit who became a mother in 2014 and returned to the sport to win her second world title last year.
“I have had an amazing few years and achieved so much in this sport. I’m really proud,” Ennis-Hill said before suggesting she could now retire from the sport altogether.
Rutherfordm, Team GB’s other gold medal champion from four years ago, also made it onto the podium but this time with the bronze medal.
American Jeff Henderson took the Olympic title with a remarkable 8.38m. South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga won the silver medal with 8.37m, while Rutherford took bronze with his final jump 8.29m.
Rutherford, also the Commonwealth and World champion, said afterwards that he was “gutted” with the result.
He said: “I came here to win but couldn’t quite get it together. I am very frustrated with a jump they called a foul but it wasn’t, and it wasn’t until the end they changed that.
“But equally I didn’t jump far enough and that’s difficult. I am pleased I went from fourth back into a medal position but bronze is not good enough for me. I am very disappointed.”
Despite Belgium and the US spoiling a trip down memory lane for the scattered Team GB fans in Rio’s Estadio Olimpico, the 2012 host nation still lie third in the medal table with 30 overall after another successful day in the velodrome.
Organisers will be concerned that there will still scores of empty seats to be seen on a busy night of athletics. They’ll hope that Usain Bolt will bring in the crowds on Sunday evening when he competes in the 100m final, looking for his third consecutive Olympic gold in the event.