10 MAR 2001 General News

The final of the men's 1500

Men's 1500 metres Final

It took only one lap--the first one, in 36.03--to predict this would not be a final for the record books.

As the runners slogged around the Atlantico Pavilion oval, one had to hope for some tactical surprises to rescue the race from the doldrums of dullness.

Not to worry. In the end, the local fans were treated to a memorable surprise.

Sydney champion Noah Ngeny took the lead right from the gun, followed by Spain's Reyes Estevez. The Kenyan wasn't about to hold the lead spot all the way, however.

The other Spaniard, Juan Carlos Higuero, took over the task on the second lap (1:10.36) as the pace quickened only minimally.

It wasn't until the race neared the halfway mark at about 700 metres that Ngeny took it upon himself to heat up the action. With only four laps remaining, he certainly must have thought he had the speed to blow away his important rivals.

Ngeny sprinted away, towing Estevez, Moroccan Adil Kaouch, and Portugal's Rui Silva along.

With two laps remaining, the Kenyan still had the advantage, but Estevez and Silva--the latter running most of the way in lane two--seemed to be awaiting an advantageous moment to pounce.

The big move came just as the leaders were approaching the bell. Estevez bolted past a startled Ngeny, and Silva followed, yielding nothing to his Spanish rival.

What ensued in the final 300 metres was a good old-fashioned Iberian leg race.

Silva stayed glued to Estevez's shoulder as the pair entered the final straight. Then the Portuguese star ignited the crowd with a splendid sprint past Estevez for a stunning win, albeit in a sluggish time of 3:51.06.

Estevez, twice a bronze medallist in the world outdoors, collected the silver medal--his highest in a global championship--with a time of 3:51.25.

Ngeny did hold on for the bronze in 3:51.63, just ahead of his teammate Laban Rotich (3:51.71).