11 SEP 2002 General News 11 September

“Winning the World Cup is the goal of my season,” says Bernard Lagat

Hello to everybody! I haven’t been able to update my diary in a while, so sorry if some of this stuff is a little out-dated!

Zurich
I was excited to start the second part of the season. I had just got back from the African Championships in Tunisia where I was successfully named for the World Cup team. Tunisia was a major step in reaching my goal for this season. I arrived into Zurich with great hopes of having a fast race with Hicham, but unfortunately I wasn’t feeling my best. I was still a little sick from Tunisia and felt no energy in my body. After 100m into the race, I was already tired!!! I knew then and there that the remaining 1400m was going to seem like a marathon…which it did. I had to keep telling myself, “come on! You can do it!,” throughout the race and managed to come in 4th. It was unfortunate because Zurich is one of my favourite places to race in all of Europe, and I really wanted to put on a good race for the enthusiastic fans and for the promoter.

Brussels
Brussels was a confidence booster especially after having a bad race in Zurich. I was still a little unsure of my body, and I was nervous going into Brussels. Luckily, I ran a good race and finished second to Hicham – again! It wasn’t the fastest race, but I just really wanted to get my form and my confidence back. I was truly happy with the results because I knew that I was back on track and now I am feeling 100% about myself again!

Berlin
I had the best training last week in Tubingen, Germany, with a firm thought of challenging Hicham at the ISTAF meeting. I arrived there on Thursday night feeling fresh, relaxed and ready for a big race. It was a beautiful night in Berlin; the weather was so calm and warm. The conditions were ideal for a fast race, which I hoped for when deciding to run in Berlin. Things did not happen for me… I had a terrible start. For some reason, Hicham and I were put on the inside lane (Bahn 5), but usually I am put on the outside lane right beside the rabbits. Both Hicham and I talked a little about it, but there was nothing we could do but to push our way to the front right at the gun. I don’t like to have all that pushing at the start, and try my best to avoid it, but Hicham got a better start and he made it out of the pushing, while I didn’t and found myself dead last at 100m. I had to work my way up to get a hold of the leading pack, which included Hicham and the rabbits. I tried hanging in tight as usual, but simply felt ‘flat’ in my legs. The only source of drive was my psychological toughness, which has greatly helped me throughout the season. Hicham opened up a 3-second lead on me, but I had nothing left with which to close it up. Well, I may not be satisfied with my performance, but coming 2nd to Hicham is not a disaster!

Grand Prix Final and World Cup
After a lengthy talk with my coach, we decided that I would skip any other races and only concentrate on the remaining major competitions – the Paris Grand Prix Final and the World Cup in Madrid. I want to end the GP season on a high note, so I am hoping that everything will come together for Paris. After Paris, I will be joining the African team in Nice for a residential camp before heading down to Madrid. The African team is training together seriously to win the World Cup. This will be my first ever World Cup appearance and I know that there will be stiff competition from Mehdi Baala and Reyes Esteves, but I definitely would like to reach my goal for the season: winning the World Cup.

Sometimes it’s hard to get the body and the legs to work as one, so I hope that they will cooperate for me one of these days. I know that just as long as I keep working hard and believing in myself, good things will happen eventually!

Bernard Lagat