09 MAR 2001 General News

Men 1500 metre heats

Men's 1500 Metres Heats

Qualification: First two in each heat, plus the next three fastest times.

Heat 1 -- Spain's Reyes Esteves burst into the lead out of a front-running pack as the bell sounded, and he held off a mad scramble of runners down the final stretch for a 3:37.93 win.

Sydney champion Noah Ngeny seemed content just to qualify for the final as he strode easily into the finish in second with 3:38.22.

To Ngeny's rear, Hailu Mekonnen put on a sprint over the last 50 metres to clock a 3:38.41 which would turn out to be sufficient to capture a time-based place in the final.

Also in the climactic sprint was Ugandan Julius Achon, who also was an unknowing finalist with a fourth-place 3:39.14.

Heat 2-- Laban Rotich of Kenya stayed close to Youssef Baba's pace into the bell, and then powered off the final turn to win in 3:47.00 in a race destined to produce slow times from the first lap onward.

Seneca Lassiter from the US stayed glued to Rotich in the last 80 meters to take the second qualifying spot with 3:47.06, as Sydney fifth-placer Kevin Sullivan of Canada tied up in the final run-in to finish in a non-qualifying third with 3:47.19.

Heat 3-- Rui Silva of Portugal drew some of the loudest noise of the evening as he took the lead with one lap left. Adil Kaouch of Morocco chased Silva down the final backstretch, as both runners pulled more than ten metres ahead of the rest of the field. The automatic spots were secure.

Silva's winning time of 3:37.79 was the best of the evening, as Kaouch's 3:37.90 in second place was a lifetime best.

A fast finish by Juan Carlos Higuero of Spain in 3:39.21, likewise a career standard, garnered one of the time qualifying spots.