13 MAR 2010 Report

EVENT REPORT - MEN's 3000 Metres Final

Bernard Lagat (USA) ends a wonderfully well judged race by taking the World Indoor 3000m gold in Doha, a title which he last won in 2004 (Getty Images)Bernard Lagat (USA) ends a wonderfully well judged race by taking the World Indoor 3000m gold in Doha, a title which he last won in 2004 (Getty Images) © Copyright

Is there a cooler guy in athletics than Bernard Lagat?

The US athlete regained the title he last won six years ago with a totally dominant display and after opening up a 10m lead on this well beaten rivals had the time midway down the home stretch to raise an arm in acknowledgment to the crowd. Beautiful.

It may have been one of the most competitive races in the programme, but as soon as Lagat took the lead from long-time leader and defending champion Tariku Bekele with a little over 200m remaining it was a demonstration.

The last lap was a mere formality as the silky-smooth Lagat, 35, became the oldest man in history to win gold at a World Indoor Championships - he is some 22 days older than the previous eldest - Gerard Lelievre of France, the 1985 5000m walk champion.

European Indoor record holder Sergio Sanchez of Spain capped a wonderful campaign on the boards by taking a brilliant silver medal in 7.39.55 with Kenya's emerging 20-year-old talent Sammy Mutahi taking bronze in 7.39.90 from a fading Bekele.

The race began to deafening chanting from the vociferous Ethiopian supporters, but was Kenya's Augustine Choge who took the field through the first kilometre in a healthy 2:36.19.

The second third of the race was dominated by Bekele and his Ethiopian team-mate Dejan Gebremeskel who shared the pace, the former hitting 2km in 5:12.32.

With 800m remaining Bekele notably cranked up the pace, so much so, that with two laps remaining the field was splintered. The Ethiopian was closely tracked by Lagat but the pair were five metres ahead of Sanchez who in turn was five metres clear of the chasing pack.

Lagat chose his moment to strike for home with 220m remaining and smoothly rolled around the final circuit of the Aspire Dome to secure the most comfortable of victories. 

The battle for the minor medals was a more competitive affair. Sanchez caught and passed Bekele and earned Spain's first medal in the event since Alberto Garcia in 2003 and Mutahi timed his sprint to perfection to surge past a tiring Bekele for the bronze.

The Ethiopian, who had succeeded his older more famous brother as champion of this event in Valencia two years ago, recorded 7:40.10 for fourth. In fifth Galen Rupp of the US set a personal best of 7:42.10. There was disappointment for the two athletes from Qatar, James Kwalia, the World 5000m bronze medallist, was eighth (7:46.12) and Essa Ismail Rashed ninth in 7:47.94.

Steve Landells for the IAAF