23 SEP 2007 General News

Men's 1500m

The men's 1500m field was loaded with athletes hoping for better results than they had seen in Osaka, but the most redemptive result went to the defending WAF champion, Kenya's Daniel Kipchirchir Komen, who was out of contention in the semifinals in Osaka. For the WAF victory, Komen had to run down Mehdi Baala, disqualified in from the same semifinal.

Komen and his countryman, Shadrack Korir, established themselves at the front of the pack early, and while the pace remained well within the abilities of all the competitors (1:00.17 at 400m) it was not so slow as to encourage too much bumping and jostling.

With two laps remaining, Komen slowed the pace slightly, and was relieved of the lead as Morocco's Mohamed Moustaoui charged to the front in response. Moustaoui carried the pack through the bell (2:45) at a slightly brisker pace before Baala, who had also taken care to position himself close to the lead and out of trouble, made his bid.

Baala's move was dramatic enough that Moustaoui appeared to have slowed to a walk as the field streamed by in pursuit of the Frenchman. It was Komen who had the best response, reaching Baala's shoulder with 200m remaining and matching his stride around the bend.

Komen then pulled clear of Baala on the homestretch for his second WAF win in 3:37.96, well off the championship record of 3:32.76 he set here last year. "When Baala started his final sprint, I was confident that I could overtake him again," said Komen.

Baala, second in 3:38.35, was barely able to hold off the charge of another strong closer, Suleiman Simotwo of Kenya, 3:38.36. Alan Webb, who ran the year's fastest time of 3:30.54 in Paris in early July, was 10th and last at the bell, but closed strongly for fourth in 3:38.84.

Parker Morse for the IAAF

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