Mo Farah was bloodied by a rogue spike, but this time he left Scotland unbowed.
A month ago his trademark finishing kick was blunted by a particularly boggy Great Edinburgh XCountry course but back in the more comfortable environs of the Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix, Britain’s double Olympic champion’s last-lap speciality sprint took him to an easy 3,000m win.
Farah had been targeting a British record but victory proved an adequate enough compensation as he sped away from the Kenyan Augustine Choge to win in 7min 39.55sec.
“At 2,000m I could see it slowing down and once it slowed down, I was down by three seconds,” explained Farah. “It would have been hard to go on my own and to go for it. I had to make a decision to win the race or go for fast times.”
It was not particularly quick but it was still too quick for some. Afterwards the American Ben Blankenship, who finished fifth, stumbled towards the doctor’s room, where he promptly threw up into a paper bag.
Farah now heads back to his training camp in Portland, where he will prepare for next month’s World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff in a much happier frame of mind. “In Edinburgh I was second and it was on my mind,” he said. “The most important thing was to come out and win. It was massive. After Edinburgh I went to sleep at night, and thought: ‘What happened, what could I have done?’ I asked myself a lot of questions. It hurt me.”
Meanwhile, a topsy-turvy long jump competition was won by Britain’s Lorraine Ugen, whose fifth-round leap brought her an indoor personal best, bragging rights over her compatriot Shara Proctor and a bonus of $20,000 for winning all four of the International Association of Athletics Federation’s 2016 indoor world tour events.
“It’s fantastic,” said Ugen, whose leap of 6.80m was four centimetres further than Proctor. “I’ve never won anything like this before. To contend on the major stage and to do it at home is even better.”
The 24-year-old Ugen, who spends most of her time in America, has already thought about how best to spend it: she wants to trade in her beaten-up Volvo for a brand new Mustang. “I need to upgrade my car,” she said, smiling. “I train in Texas so a Mustang sounds kind of nice.”
Ugen, whose fifth place at the world championships in Beijing last August was overshadowed by Proctor’s silver, believes her rivalry with her team-mate could help propel her to a medal at the world indoors in Portland next month. “Not only are we battling at major championships but we’re battling for the number one spot in Britain,” said Ugen. “It helps me train harder. My goal is going to be getting on the podium at world indoors.”
There was another impressive British victory in the men’s 60m as Sean Safo-Antwi sprung a surprise by beating a stacked field that included the American Mike Rodgers, the evergreen Kim Collins and the world indoor champion, Richard Kilty.
Safo-Antwi, who got out of the blocks quickest before holding his form to win ahead of Kilty in 6.56 sec, said: “I knew I was in good shape and I knew I really wanted to win. I haven’t lost yet this season so I came with that mentality and my aim was to win. It doesn’t get any bigger than this really.”
Collins had to be helped off the track but later tweeted that it was merely cramp and he should be OK for Portland.
In the women’s 60m there was a rare blip for Dina Asher-Smith, who could only manage fifth place behind Dafne Schippers in the women’s 60m. Asher-Smith, who broke the British 60m, 100m and 200m records last year, drove out of the blocks well enough but was soon passed by the stampede of runners around her as she finished in a disappointing 7.25 sec – 0.15 sec behind Schippers.
“I really wasn’t very good so I am disappointed,” admitted an unhappy Asher-Smith. “Hopefully that’s the last mistake I make before the British trials next week and world indoors in Portland next month but I’ve certainly got a lot of work to do.”
But Asher-Smith, who won the silver medal at the European Indoors last year, believes this disappointment will stoke her competitive fires. “You need to underperform occasionally to really make you work hard and really motivate you,” she admitted. “That definitely 110% wasn’t what I wanted but it happens.”
Elsewhere, the Paralympic T44 long jump champion Markus Rehm produced a leap of 8.10m to win against a weakened field of able-bodied athletes after Greg Rutherford pulled out.
The Blade Jumper, who lost a leg in a boating accident when he was 14, hopes to compete in the Rio Olympics as well as the Paralympics – which is bound to reignite the arguments, first voiced about Oscar Pistorius before London 2012, about how much extra advantage he gets from his blade.
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