15 MAR 2003 General News

Men 1500 metres Final

Driss Maazouzi of France ran fearlessly against a pair of fleet Kenyans and a determined Moroccan to take the gold medal with tactical 3:42.59 victory.

The Morocco-born Maazouzi was in the front-running group the entire way, as he held tight to early leader Andrey Zadorozhniy of Russia.

Edmonton silver medallist Bernard Lagat of Kenya, as well as his countryman, Cornelius Chirchir, moved into the lead group with Maazouzi at the halfway point, as the tempo warmed up noticeably.

With two laps remaining, Chirchir was in the lead as Maazouzi cut quickly in front of Lagat, causing the more highly-decorated Kenyan to downshift.  But Lagat was not finished. 

Maazouzi made his final move to the front as the bell sounded.  While trailing the Frenchman coming into the final bend, Lagat was also being pursued by Abdelkader Hachlaf of Morocco. 

It was tenacious running at its best which saw Maazouzi holding tight to the rail and not allowing the helpless Lagat to pass.

Lagat’s second-place time was 3:42.62, just 0.03 behind the winner, as Hachlaf (3:42.71) pipped Chirchir (3:43.03) for the bronze.