August 11, 2014 / 10:24 PM / 5 years ago

Farah returns for European championships after scare

ZURICH (Reuters) - Double Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah returns to action at this week’s European athletics championships where the high jump showdown between world champion Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine and Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov of Russia should also dominate.

Mo Farah of Britain gestures after finishing in eighth position in the men's Elite London Marathon April 13, 2014. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Farah is expected to run in Wednesday’s 10,000 meters and the 5,000 meters on Sunday having missed Glasgow’s recent Commonwealth Games with abdominal pains which caused him to be airlifted to hospital while training in the United States.

“They thought something was going on with my heart – it was just crazy,” he was quoted as saying by the UK’s Guardian newspaper.

“I was in hospital for four days and it was scary but these things happen and so I missed quite a lot of running.”

He could take his tally to six individual European medals in Zurich.

The 31-year-old, Europe’s only reigning Olympic champion in the men’s track events, won the 5,000 and 10,000 gold in Barcelona in 2010, the 5,000 gold in Helsinki two years ago and the 5,000 silver in Gothenburg in 2006.

Javier Sotomayor’s 21-year-old world record of 2.45 meters in the high jump could be under threat on Friday, with Bondarenko, Ukhov and world indoor bronze medalist Andriy Protsenko all having gone over 2.40 this year.

Bondarenko equaled the European record of 2.42 in New York in June while Ukhov follows closely behind with 2.41 he jumped in Doha one month previously.

The other main hope for a world record is in the men’s pole vault where Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie will attempt to break his own record of 6.16 meters that the Frenchmen set earlier this year.

The limitations of European athletics have raised questions about the decision to hold the event every two years.

This year’s event at Zurich’s Letzigrund stadium should at least be an improvement on Helsinki 2012 which was treated by most athletes as little more than a warm-up for the Olympic Games in London.

Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Mark Meadows

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