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Women 1500 metre final

Women 1500m final

Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan, who had arrived in Lisbon with high hopes of a golden double, ended up a despondent last, in a 1500m race surprisingly won by 22 year-old Hasna Benhassi.

The compact Moroccan, crossed the line a stride ahead of Romania's Violeta Beclea-Szekely, in 4:10.83 and ran straight into the arms of Hicham El Guerrouj, who had just struck gold in the men's 3000m.

All the early running had been made by O'Sullivan, who led the field through 400m in a pedestrian 70.90 and 800m in 2:22.11. But at that pace her rivals were lining up to attack. With 600 metres to go, Carla Sacramento burst into the lead, closely followed by Benhassi, Beclea-Szekely, Natalya Gorelova (RUS) and Daniela Yordanova (BUL). Sacramento was still leading at the bell but on the last bend she was overtaken by Benhassi and Beclea-Szekely. Although the Romanian is a renowned finisher, it was the Moroccan, whose build and fast cadence is perfect for indoor running, who impressed with a 30.1 final 200 metres (her last 400m was 60.0). To the crowd's disappointment, Sacramento lost out on the bronze to Gorelova by the thickness of her vest (4:11.74 to 4:11.76).

"This is the first time I have run this distance at a major championships, so I can only be happy with the result," said Benhassi. "It is wonderful!"

The Moroccan, who has a personal best of 1:57.45 for 800m outdoors, the Moroccan record, was fifth over this distance at the last edition of these World Championships in Maebashi.