Olympic hero Mo Farah revelled in his first taste of ‘Mo Mania’ on his return to action at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix.
Not one of the near 13,000 fans cared that the 29-year-old was unable to break Steve Ovett’s 34-year-old European outdoor two miles record as he won the race with considerable and predictable ease, bursting clear with 200 metres to go yesterday.
Farah, also celebrating the birth of twin girls on Friday to go with his two Olympic golds, clocked eight minutes 27.24 seconds over the rarely-run distance, well short of Ovett’s mark of 8mins 13.51secs.
Farah, who won the 5,000 and 10,000 metres titles in London, was roared on to those successes by 80,000 screaming fans. The surroundings at the Alexander Stadium were rather more modest, but he still received the loudest cheer of the afternoon and was begged by hoards of screaming fans for autographs by the track.
Tributes to the man could be seen around the stadium, including a wicker Farah, in full Team GB kit and in his trademark Mobot celebration, on a grassy bank between two stands, while a ‘Mo Cam’ went round the stands capturing fans doing the pose.
“It’s been unbelievable,” he said. “The crowd, I’ve never seen it like this before.
“I’ve never dreamed of it being like this with everyone behind you, the whole country. It’s great support, it gives you a big boost and you feel like you can’t let them down.
“You’ve got to go out there and win.
“I went to a restaurant the other day and someone came up and asked me to do the Mobot while I’m eating my food.”
Fans have also been queuing at his local post box in his hometown of Teddington, which was painted gold to mark his Olympic triumph.
“There’s a queue there all the time,” he said. “The other day I was driving past and I opened my window and did the Mobot. I said: ‘Here’s Mo, I’m doing the Mobot’. People were laughing.
“I’m really enjoying it. All these people just appreciate it and they are very nice about it.”
Farah did a lap of honour at the end of the meeting with fellow Olympic medallists Greg Rutherford, Christine Ohuruogu and Robbie Grabarz, with the trio enjoying contrasting fortunes.
High jump bronze medallist Grabarz won with a clearance of 2.32m, beating Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov of Russia and putting himself in pole position to win the overall Diamond League series.
Long jump champion Greg Rutherford had an injury scare during his competition, passing three attempts while he got treatment on a tight groin. The 25-year-old returned for his final jump which he fouled, meaning his best of 7.88m was only good enough for third place.
“I have not stopped since the Olympics,” he said.
Olympic 400m silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu was second in 50.67s.