07 MAR 1999 General News 7 march

Men 1500m final

Men’s 1500m

Haile Gebrselassie completed the toughest part of his mission this afternoon by winning an excellent 1500m race in a championship record 3:33.77. Pushed hard the whole race, first by Kenya’s defending world champion William Tanui and then by his countryman Laban Rotich, Gebrselassie had to dig deep, especially in the last 300m, which he covered in 41.45. Tanui led the field through the first 800m in 1:54.20 with Rotich taking over the lead at 1200 metres - perhaps as part of a team tactic - reached in 2:52.58. From then on, it was a question of who woudl have the best sprint, and Gebrselassie provided the answer. With Rotich hanging on for silver (3:33.98) the bronze ended up going to Andres Diaz, who made up a tremendous amount of ground in the final 50 metres straight to clock 3:34.46. Tanui set a personal best of 3:34.77 for fourth with Portugal’s Rui Silva only fifth, despite a national record of 3:34.99.

The race call in Real Audio

Gold Medallist - GEBRSELASSIE Haile (ETH)

"One gold medal in a championships is ordinary, I wanted to get two gold and be a little different! (Laughing)
Today in the 1500m I had a very close competition. I judged my finishing burst according to the competitors around me at the time. Before any race I do my homework and in that way I remained confident even after two long days of running prior to this 1500m final.
The flight out to Japan made me very tired. Last night (Saturday) was the first night of sleep that I have managed to gain."

Silver Medallist - ROTICH Laban (KEN)
"It was not actually a difficult race, but it was really too hot for me. Usually we run these times with a forerunner(pace), but now we had to do all the work. I tried to sprint but it was not enough today."

Bronze Medallist - DIAZ Andres (ESP)
"I came to the Championships with the best times, but unfortunately I was unable to repeat it. Nevertheless I am satisfied with my result as this is my first indoor medal. Haile is great. He is from another galaxy like Hicham (EL GUERROUJ) They are simply unbeatable."