Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Magic Mo Farah, unbelievable Usain Bolt and guess who

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - AUGUST 10: Gold medalist Mo Farah of Great Britain poses with with daughter Rhianna Farah and the games mascot during the medal ceremony for the Men's 10000 metresduring Day One of the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 at Luzhniki Stadium on August 10, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Moscow is playing host to the World Athletics Championships this week and the BBC are there in force to cheer Great Britain's competitors onto another golden summer.

Sadly there has been little to holler about, with the notable exception of Mo Farah, a man who continues to make the last lap of the 10,000 metres interesting, and Christine Ohuruogu who remembered to turn up just in time to win her 400 metres.

Other than that it has largely been a tale of under-achievement, overblown hype, abject failure and mediocrity, and that's just the BBC presenting panel ...

It's the usual suspects, Colin Jackson and Denise Lewis joined now by Paula Radcliffe in some lovely frocks, minus the knee-length socks, with Gabby Logan (who else?) perched in the BBC eerie overlooking the stadium, leaving you wishing she'd put a sock in it.

They seem to have brought their own camera too, meaning that we can spend hour upon hour of listening to Gabby spout forth wisdom untold, interspersed with random shots of British fans dotted around the half empty stadium, and a steadfast refusal to show us the action that is clearly going on behind them.

You wouldn't mind if they had something worth saying, but when Colin tells you for the millionth time that Usain Bolt 'is the best sprinter we've ever seen on this planet' you wish he'd get in that spaceship and travel to a galaxy far, far away to try and find another.

He also insisted that the 10,000 metres is 'the chess of the track and field, because there's lots of playing around and attacking' and about as interesting.

For me the fascinating thing about distance running is the Africa competitors, and I don't mean Mo. A never-ending conveyor belt of Kenneth, Timothy and Thomas', or Emily, Sally and Gladys' in the women's, you don't know if it's a start list or a seating plan at a Rotary Club shindig.

And the talking finally stopped and we were off, for 25 minutes of jogging and jostling, and at the end Mo won by running fastest over the last 400 metres, with Steve Cram commenting that this was 'world domination for Farah.' Good news for beige slacks wearing Rotarians across the globe and other planets too.

Much basking in glory ensued, although the Russian public were suitably bored as they looked to get on with things while Mo wondered why there weren't more celebrations, but thankfully there were more to be shown, from the eerie up above.

Unlike in London, Denise showed more decorum, Paula looked awkward but Gabby (not pictured with Mo), remembering she has a huge media portfolio to pursue, had the presence of mind to jump up and down like a demented schoolgirl who had found One Direction at her front door.

Thank goodness for Bolt, a true superstar, who defeated Justin Gatlin and as Cram called him Nesta Carter the fast starter, who is another Jamaican sprinter and not a character from Viz.

The final words go to Gabby, obviously, who poured praise on Bolt in the pouring rain but bemoaned the fact that Michael Johnson, an athletics pundit worth listening to, was absent and thus couldn't 'discuss the lack of American sprinters in the final'. Apart from the man in second. And the one in sixth. Oh, for an eerie silence.

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