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Originally published Saturday, July 31, 2010 at 3:59 AM

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Farah, Ennis lead Britain's golden European night

Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis led Britain's golden night at the European Championships on Saturday with victories in the men's 5,000 meters and women's heptathlon.

AP Sports Writer

BARCELONA, Spain —

Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis led Britain's golden night at the European Championships on Saturday with victories in the men's 5,000 meters and women's heptathlon.

Farah, who lost to Spain's Jesus Espana four years ago by 0.09 seconds, ran a commanding race in the 5,000 to give him a distance double. He had won the 10,000.

Farah's time of 13 minutes, 31.18 seconds at Barcelona's Olympic Stadium was 1.92 seconds better than that of Espana. The Spaniard settled for silver ahead of Azerbaijan's Hayle Ibrahimov. Farah wept in joy over his achievement.

Merlene Ottey, 50, became the oldest athlete to compete at the event when she ran in the 4x100 women's relay. Ottey, a naturalized Slovenian of Jamaican origin, surpassed the age record held by 47-year-old French marathon runner Nicole Brakebusch-Leveque. But Slovenia failed to get out of the heats.

"It's right up there with all the medals I have won," said Ottey, who has won 29 medals in major competitions, including seven Olympics, among them a bronze in Barcelona in 1992. "It didn't cross my mind (at 40) that I would still be running now. I thought I would retire."

Ennis set a European record of 6,823 points to add a European title to her world title. Ennis, holding an 18-point lead over Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska, finished in front of the Ukrainian in the closing event (800 meters) to take the gold. She passed Carolina Kluft's total of 6,740 from 2006 with a season-best run in the two-lap race.

"I was so glad to win, especially with the 800 meters at the end and the way that I won it, which was mainly to prove that I really am the world No. 1," Ennis said.

Britain's night didn't end there - David Greene and Rhys Williams led a 1-2 finish in the 400-meter hurdles.

France's Myriam Soumaire denied Russia's women another gold medal, winning the 200 meters in a European season's best time of 22.32 seconds.

"I cannot believe what happened - the last meters was crazy," said Soumaire, bronze medalist in the 100. "I was afraid of the Russian athletes because they are the favorites."

Moments after teammate and 100-meter silver medalist Veronique Mang was disqualified for a false start, Soumaire surged to the front from the outside lane.

Ukraine's Yelizaveta Bryzhina took silver as the top two passed Aleksandra Fedoriva just as the Russian seemed set for gold when she led coming out of the bend. Russian women had won five medals on Friday night.

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Russia, despite no gold Saturday, still leads with eight golds and 21 overall. Britain has six golds as does France after Renaud Lavillenie won the pole vault at 19 feet, 2 1/2 inches.

Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway won his second straight javelin gold to go with Olympic and world titles.

The Norwegian shrugged off the challenge of Matthias De Zordo of Germany to win with a throw of 289-11, then carried championship mascot 'Barni' upside down during his victory lap in celebration.

Poland also picked up its first gold thanks to Marcin Lewandowski's 800 win, and Turkey, too, earned its first victory as Nevin Yanit led from the gun to win the 100 hurdles in 12.63 seconds.

"I cannot believe what happened," said Yanit, who received a congratulatory call from Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "This performance is amazing."

Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus edged Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski of Poland and defending champion Ralf Bartels of Germany to win the shot. Ukraine won five medals Saturday, led by Olha Saladuha in the women's triple jump.

Zivile Balciunaite of Lithuania won the women's marathon. France advanced to the men's 4x100 relay final Sunday despite Christophe Lemaitre, winner of the 100 and 200, sitting out qualifying.

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Associated Press Writer Ben Hayward contributed to this report.

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