Hamza Driouch of Qater wins the Men's 1500 metres Final on the day three of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona on 12 July 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Kenya’s Hillary Cheruiyot Ngetich took silver in a PB of 3:40.39 while the incredibly fast-finishing Moroccan Abdelhadi Labali bagged bronze timed at 3:40.60.
Ngetich was the early leader but the initial pace was quite slow, the Kenyan reaching the 400m in 1:01.60 in what seemed a typical cagey affair but Driouch had different thoughts and just before the 700m mark he moved to the front to inject a much brisker rhythm which led the rest of the pack to chase him in crocodile file.
Driouch’s change of speed was so lethal that by the 1000m point only the two Kenyans, Ngetich and Dominic Mutili and Ethiopia’s Teshome Dirirsa could live with his pace.
The Qatari star cruised through the bell in 2:43.10 with Ngetich still in hot pursuit but Driouch broke away from the Kenyan with awesome easiness over the closing lap. Once it became clear Driouch and Ngetich would take gold and silver, attention turned to the fierce battle for the bronze medal.
Morocco’s Labali travelled in seventh at the bell but he found an extra gear to complete a stunning closing 400. He ultimately passed Eritrea’s Teweldebrhan, then his fellow Moroccan Mohamed Abid and before entering the home straight he overtook Dirisa to snatch bronze. Labali even threatened Ngetich’s silver and only 0.21s separated both athletes at the finish line.
Driouch’s frantic 400m only took him 55.95.
The joyful winner said: "This result comes after a lot of training. My rivals are really tough, especially the Africans. I built-up for these championships in Sweden and England where the weather is better for the middle-distance runners. I also spent one month in Barcelona to get used to the conditions here. My next goals are the Olympics where I hope to reach the final; this gold medal gives me extra confidence".
Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF