GB 'smashed it' - Black

Mo Farah won 5,000m gold to complete a double success in Zurich

Mo Farah won 5,000m gold to complete a double success in Zurich

First published in National Sport News © by

Great Britain's athletes "smashed it" at the record-breaking European Championships, according to the team's performance director Neil Black.

Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford starred on Sunday as the British team ended a marvellous six days of athletics in Zurich with a flourish.

They won eight medals on the final day at the Stadion Letzigrund, taking the overall tally to 23 - four more than the previous best of 19 set in Barcelona four years ago.

Furthermore, Great Britain finished top of the medal table for just the third time ever thanks to 12 golds, which blew away the previous best of nine set in Budapest in 1998.

Five of those podium-topping performances came on the last day, with Farah and Rutherford's individual displays complementing relay glory.

The men's 4x400 metres team got the ball rolling on Sunday afternoon, before both 4x100m teams romped to victory - performances which understandably delighted British Athletics performance director Black.

''It was an incredibly special Sunday,'' he said.

''To see Mo flying around the track after all that stuff was brilliant; to see the relays converting and the girls setting a British record and to understand the effort, the pain, the trials and tribulations behind that to get these guys, to get these guys slick, has not been easy.

''They should be really happy and enjoy it for a few hours, for a few days and just think 'we smashed it'."

Jo Pavey started the medal rush as the 40-year-old rolled back the years on the opening night to win 10,000m gold, becoming the oldest female European champion in the process.

This was a championships in which young talent came to the fore, though, so it was somewhat fitting that 18-year-old Desiree Henry brought the women's 4x100m relay team home, securing Great Britain's last medal in a national record time.

"There is a feeling of excitement and happiness," Black added.

"It is just great to see athletes performing strongly, and those who had genuine medal prospects convert.

"We all saw them looking confident, going out and holding their heads high competing for Great Britain.

"Yes, these are the European Championships, and we all accept that these are European as opposed to global, but there were still some seriously impressive results. I'm just chuffed.

"I think it's incredible. As the championships go on, we all go through the questions of 'what's the potential?' and 'can we convert?'

"But as the days went on, the conversions were maintained. We started to realise that if we did keep it up, we had the chance of becoming the top country in Europe, and that is just brilliant."

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