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Farah successfully defends 5000 title at Europeans

By RAF CASERT,

AP Sports Writer

Updated June 27, 2012

HELSINKI (AP) Defending champion Mo Farah of Britain won the 5,000 meters at the European Championships with ease on Wednesday.

Making the most of his only race at the Europeans, Farah took control with a mile to go and put in a blistering last lap ahead of the London Olympics.

`'I consider London to be the big one, and I'm looking forward to that," he said.

His unmatched pace relegated German Arne Gabius to silver and Polan Arikan of Turkey to bronze.

In the 100, another defending champion had a good time. Christophe Lemaitre easily won his semifinal despite a slow start to set up a fight for gold Thursday with French compatriot Jimmy Vicaut and Jaysuma Saidy Ndure of Norway, the day's top performer with 10.13 seconds.

Lemaitre won a sprint triple at the last Europeans, adding the 200 and sprint relays to his 100 gold. Because of the upcoming Olympics, he is limiting his schedule at the five-day event and cut the 200.

On a cool, damp evening at Helsinki's historic 1952 Olympic Stadium, Farah finished in a slow 13 minutes, 29.91 seconds and still held an edge of 1.92 seconds over Gabius.

In his third 5,000 meters of the season, he kept his unbeaten run going. He earned a first gold medal in a season he hopes will yield two more in London.

He became the season's top performer when he won the Prefontaine Classic in 12:56.98 in Eugene, Ore.

Instead of hanging round for Saturday's sapping 10,000 to repeat his long-distance Euro double of two years ago, Farah was bound for the French Pyrenees on a red-eye flight on Thursday for more training.

Farah clinched a 5,000-10,000 double at the Barcelona Europeans in 2010, but he decided against adding a 10,000 this time. His real test will come in the Olympics from Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia and Bernard Lagat of the United States.

Even if it was as damp as his training grounds in Oregon, temperatures were a lot cooler trackside.

He warmed up with a grey, woolen cap, and quickly dispensed of his shades early in the race as conditions got increasingly overcast.

With a big pack of 25 at the start, Farah took the wise route and started out dead last, knowing there was time enough to catch up over a dozen laps.

He steadily made his way up the pack before hitting the front with five laps to go. A half dozen stayed with him until the bell, but no one could match a final 400 meters at a pace of 53.69 seconds.

Farah will train in the rarified air of Font Romeu and briefly come back for the July 13-14 Diamond League meeting in London and a 3,000 race, before shuttling back to the Pyrenees to finish off his Olympic preparations.

He'll arrive at the Olympic village only a few days ahead of the 10,000 on Aug. 4, the first of his two long distance events.

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