It was Augustine Choge all the wayexcept for the final 50 metres of the 1500m race at the IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final. The Kenyan had led the field and was able to increase his speed in the final lap, but he had not enough energy left on the homestraight. William Biwott (Kenya) passed him to snatch victory and the $30,000 first prize with 3:35.04 minutes. Leonel Manzano (USA) came through to second in the final part of the race with 3.35.40 while Choge was third in 3:35.46. Times were not bad taking into account the late stage of the season.
19 year-old William Biwott had missed qualifying for the World Championships in Berlin earlier in the season and thus probably felt fresher than others in this race.
“In the final 100 metres the crowd pushed me forward. I really wanted to win and I am very happy that I made it,” said William Biwott, who had run a World junior mile record* earlier in the season in Oslo with 3:49.49 minutes. But this one in Thessaloniki was his biggest win so far.
While Choge seemed to give up after he was passed by Biwott and thus allowed Manzano to overtake him as well the Kenyan still finished ahead of the World champion. At the end of the season Youssef Saad Kamel (Bahrain) was not ready for another tough sprint finish. He had run almost on lane two for much of the race and then played no part in the sprint on the homestraight, finishing fourth in 3:36.11.
Jörg Wenig for the IAAF
*subject to usual ratification procedures