RRW: Redemption for Mekhissi-Benabbad, Second Gold for Farah at Euro Champs

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
August 17, 2014

ZURICH — On the final day of the 21st European Championships here at the Stadion Letzigrund, France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad and Britain’s Mo Farah both struck gold, but those medals had greatly different meanings.

For the temperamental Mekhissi-Benabbad, who was disqualified after winning the steeplechase last Thursday for removing his uniform top before crossing the finish line, winning today’s 1500m was an emotional imperative.  Fiercely competitive, but also impetuous, Mekhissi-Benabbad ran from the gut today in a slow and sloppy race which saw four athletes tumble to the track in two separate collisions.

“I am an instinctive runner,” Mekhissi-Benabbad told reporters after the race.

Those instincts proved right today, as the tall Frenchman not only managed to avoid the collisions, but benefited from them.  After Ireland’s Ciaran O’Lionaird went down with about 600 meters to go, an even bigger crash ensued just before the bell.  Germany’s Florian Orth stumbled, fell forward and went down to the track.  The defending champion, Norway’s Henrik Ingebrigtsen, had to take quick action to avoid him.

“I had a good position with 400 to go (but) a guy tripped in front of me and I got out of position,” Ingebrigtsen told the press in crisp English.  “He fell right in front of me so I had to take two steps to the left.”

Britain’s Charlie Grice and Ukraine’s Stanislov Maslov also got caught in the colission (Grice actually fell twice), but Mekhissi-Benabbad was in front of the crash and used the moment to sprint away from the field.  Ingebrigtsen was trapped behind the colission.

“It was a bit of a mess,” said Britain’s Chris O’Hare.  “The whole race was a mess.”

But not for Mekhissi-Benabbad.  He quickly hit full flight, and despite Ingebrigtsen’s 3:31 speed, it was simply impossible for him to catch the Frenchman who had such a big lead he was able to slow down and celebrate in the homestretch, although this time his uniform top remained on.  He clocked a painfully slow 3:45.60, more than ten seconds outside of the championships record.

“I knew that I could win today,” he said.  I gave all that I had to win.”

Both Ingebrigtsen (silver) and O’Hare (bronze) accepted the results, but were disappointed that a championships race had played out this way.

“If I had been in a better position with 800 to go, I would have been in a better position to fight for a medal,” said Ingebrigtsen, who ran 3:46.10.  O’Hare, who was timed in 3:46.18, had similar thoughts: “I’m sure pleased with bronze, but gold is what I came for.”

Men’s 5000

For Farah –whose winning time of 14:05.82 was the slowest since the third edition of these championships in 1946– his victory was more of a coronation.  The double Olympic gold medalist came here to win two gold medals, and did just that.  Nothing less was expected of him.

“History’s very important to me and I always hope to make my country proud,” Farah told European Athletics interviewers.  “There’s been some down times but two golds here is great and now I hope to get ready to face the big guys next year at the IAAF World Championships.”

Farah’s victory did not come without a fight.  After seven laps in the 71-second range, the pace finally got serious with with three laps to go.  Farah, and his British teammate, Andy Vernon, were on the front, and ran a 66.1-second circuit, which Farah followed-up with a 58.3 seconds for the penultimate lap.  But he wasn’t finished.  At the bell he shot ahead and only Azerbaijan’s Hayle Ibrahimov, a former Ethiopian, could go with Farah.

“Mo Farah is my friend but I want to finally beat him one day,” Ibrahimov told European Athletics interviewers.  “I feel like I am always behind him.”

Ibrahimov did his best to catch the Briton, but Farah clocked a blistering 52.3-second final lap, showing the kind of speed that only the world’s best milers possess.

“There’s been a lot of talk about me not being able to deliver but I’ve done my job,” Farah said.

Ibrahimov got the silver (14:08.32) and Vernon got the bronze (14:09.48), backing up his silver medal from the 10,000m.

“I wasn’t sure I’d even get to this startline a few months ago so to get two medals here this week is amazing,” Vernon said.

Women’s Steeple

In a very competitive women’s steeplechase, Sweden’s Charlotta Fougberg led a group of four women out of the final water jump and appeared to have control of the race.  But Germany’s Antje Moeldner-Schmidt fought back, and only took the lead over the final barrier.  The tall German clocked a season’s best 9:29.43 to claim gold, to Fougberg’s 9:30.16.  Spain’s Diana Martin got the bronze in 9:30.70, narrowly beating Belarus’s Svitlana Kudzelich (9:30.99).

“It’s great to win a medal but I wanted the gold medal today,” Moeldner-Schmidt told European Athletics interviewers.  “I worked very hard to recover after my knee gave way off the last barrier but this is a very big medal for me.”

The 22nd European Championships in Athletics will be held in Amsterdam in 2016.

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LetsRun.com note: Discuss the men’s 5000 and 1500 in our fan forum: *MB Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad Keeps Shirt On, Wins 1500 
*MB: Farah completes the double – Wins 2014 European 5000 with 2:22:85 last 1000m

*Full Results

Men’s 1500 

Rank Name Nat Date of Birth Result Order
1 MEKHISSI-BENABBAD Mahiedine FRA 15 MAR 1985 7 3:45.60
2 INGEBRIGTSEN Henrik NOR 24 FEB 1991 6 3:46.10
3 O’HARE Chris GBR 23 NOV 1990 1 3:46.18
4 ROBINSON Paul IRL 24 MAY 1991 11 3:46.35
5 TESFAYE Homiyu GER 23 JUN 1993 10 3:46.46
6 BUSTOS David ESP 25 AUG 1990 14 3:46.92
7 BENITZ Timo GER 1 DEC 1991 3 3:47.26
8 MOUKRIME Tarik BEL 3 MAR 1992 4 3:47.33
9 EL KABBOURI Soufiane ITA 5 MAR 1993 13 3:51.98
10 ORTH Florian GER 24 JUL 1989 5 3:54.35
11 MASLOV Stanislav UKR 19 JAN 1989 12 3:54.59
12 GRICE Charlie GBR 7 NOV 1993 2 4:04.81
Ó LIONÁIRD Ciarán IRL 11 APR 1988 8 DNF
HOLUŠA Jakub CZE 20 FEB 1988 9 DNS

Intermediate times: 400m 1:03.47 BUSTOS David (ESP)
800m 2:10.12 BUSTOS David (ESP)
1200m 3:05.67 MEKHISSI-BENABBAD Mahiedine (FRA)

Men’s 5000

Rank Name Nat Date of Birth Result Order

1 FARAH Mohamed GBR 23 MAR 1983 8 14:05.82
2 IBRAHIMOV Hayle AZE 18 JAN 1990 11 14:08.32
3 VERNON Andy GBR 7 JAN 1986 2 14:09.48
4 RINGER Richard GER 27 FEB 1989 14 14:10.92
5 ALAIZ Roberto ESP 20 JUL 1990 6 14:11.47
6 TAHRI Bouabdellah FRA 20 DEC 1978 15 14:11.62
7 GABIUS Arne GER 22 MAR 1981 7 14:11.84
8 ABADÍA Antonio ESP 2 JUL 1990 5 14:11.89
9 KAYA Ali TUR 20 APR 1994 16 14:12.53
10 NURME Tiidrek EST 18 NOV 1985 13 14:13.89 SB
11 ESPAÑA Jesús ESP 21 AUG 1978 3 14:14.57
12 FARRELL Thomas GBR 23 MAR 1991 12 14:15.93
13 ROWE Brenton AUT 17 AUG 1987 10 14:16.46
14 RAZINE Marouan ITA 9 APR 1991 1 14:16.95
15 BOUCHIKHI Soufiane BEL 22 MAR 1990 4 14:17.43
16 ABDI Bashir BEL 10 FEB 1989 9 14:24.73

Intermediate times: 1000m 2:58.00 FARAH Mohamed (GBR)
2000m 5:56.73 GABIUS Arne (GER)
3000m 8:52.08 FARAH Mohamed (GBR)
4000m 11:43.03 FARAH Mohamed (GBR)

Women’s Steeple

Rank Name Nat Date of Birth Result Order
1 MÖLDNER-SCHMIDT Antje GER 13 JUN 1984 12 9:29.43 SB
2 FOUGBERG Charlotta SWE 19 JUN 1985 11 9:30.16
3 MARTÍN Diana ESP 1 APR 1981 2 9:30.70 PB
4 KUDZELICH Sviatlana BLR 7 MAY 1987 15 9:30.99 PB
5 KRAUSE Gesa-Felicitas GER 3 AUG 1992 8 9:35.46 SB
6 VLASOVA Natalya RUS 19 JUL 1988 7 9:36.99
7 KOWALSKA Katarzyna POL 7 APR 1985 3 9:43.09
8 DANEKOVA Silvia BUL 7 FEB 1983 13 9:44.81
9 ERIKSSON Sandra FIN 4 JUN 1989 4 9:47.95
10 MIŠMAŠ Maruša SLO 24 OCT 1994 10 9:54.75
11 LEHTINEN Johanna FIN 21 FEB 1979 9 9:54.90
12 CASANDRA Cristina ROU 21 OCT 1977 1 9:55.42
13 SCHLUMPF Fabienne SUI 17 NOV 1990 6 9:55.92
14 KAYA Özlem TUR 20 APR 1990 14 10:06.68

Intermediate times: 1000m 3:09.85 KUDZELICH Sviatlana (BLR)
2000m 6:24.33 MÖLDNER-SCHMIDT Antje (GER)


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