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Farah wins 10K at Euro track championships

July 27, 2010

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Mo Farah led Britain to a 1-2 finish in the men’s 10,000 meters at the European track and field championships Tuesday.

Farah sprinted past Ayad Lamdassem of Spain at the start of the final lap and broke away to win gold in a time of 28 minutes, 24.99 seconds at Barcelona’s Olympic stadium.

Chris Thompson took silver in 28:27.33, and Daniele Meucci of Italy knocked Lamdassem off the podium in a final sprint down the straight to the finish.

“The first European gold feels great — it was fierce competition,” said Farah, who won silver in the 5,000 meters four years ago.

Farah let out a big smile and started waving his finger as Lamdassem passed him with three laps to go before jumping ahead and finishing the last 300 meters alone.

“I knew I needed to get rid of some runners,” Farah said. “Now I look forward to the 5,000-meter — I need to recover fast, but I’ve got it going on.”

Stanislav Emelyanov of Russia won the first gold medal of the meet, and Nadzeya Ostapchuk led a Belarussian 1-2 finish in the women’s shot put.

Emelyanov won the men’s 20-kilometer walk along the streets of Barcelona in a time of 1 hour, 20 minutes, 10 seconds. Alex Schwazer of Italy finished 28 seconds behind for silver, ahead of Portugal’s Joao Vieira, who took bronze with a season-best time of 1:20:49.

“It’s been a great race for me,” the 19-year-old Emelyanov said after his first success in senior competition.

Schwazer and Emelyanov led from the start and exchanged leads before the Russian eventually powered past for good after eight kilometers in the warm conditions.

“I tried to catch up with Emelyanov but he was in top shape today,” said Schwazer, the Olympic 50-kilometer champion. “Now I hope to recover in time for the 50k walk.”

Ostapchuk’s final throw of 67 feet, 2¼ inches, took her past teammate Natalia Mikhnevich for the gold. Mikhnevich launched 64-1 to finish ahead of Russia’s Anna Avdeyeva, who took bronze with a season’s best throw of 63-7½.

Former Olympic heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft managed a season-best leap of 21 feet, 8¾ inches, to squeeze into the long jump final. Favorites Christophe Lemaitre and Dwain Chambers, as well as defending champion Francis Obikwelu of Portugal, all easily advanced in the 100 meter heats.

Kluft’s jump wasn’t close to defending champion Lyudmila Kolchanova’s leading distance of 22-6½, but the Swedish athlete still considered the achievement a “big victory” as she continues her recovery from a torn hamstring.

“It’s been a really tough year for me so this is just one step ahead to my final goals for next year,” the two-time heptathlon winner said. “After being injured for such a long time and to be in a big championship feels so great.”

World indoor champion Naido Gomes of Portugal also advanced with a season-best leap, while Tatyana Kotova of Russia failed to get through.

Lemaitre, whose time of 9.98 seconds earlier this month was the fastest by a European this season, was quickest in his first major championship with a time of 10.19 seconds into a strong headwind.

Chambers, who had his 2002 gold taken away for a doping violation, was just behind in 10.21 after easing off in the last 20 meters.

Defending champion Francis Obikwelu of Portugal, who also holds the 200 title, advanced in a time of 10.26.

Irish sprinter Jason Smyth made history by becoming the first Paralympian to compete at the Europeans, going through in a time of 10.43.

“Hopefully I can run a wee bit faster (tomorrow) and see where that gets me,” Smyth said.

The men’s 10,000 final was later Monday.

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