Bernard Lagat’s attempt to win a distance double at the World Athletics Final came up short in the men’s 1500m this afternoon - but only just.
The Kenyan-born American won the 3000m last night with a devastating last lap and looked like he might repeat the trick here when he came from fifth to second over the last 80m. But Lagat left his finishing kick too late as Ukraine’s Ivan Heshko came from even further behind to take the victory in a WAF record 3:33.50.
Heshko edged ahead of a close pack of five in the last 40 metres with Lagat crossing the line just five hundredths behind. But only 22 hundredths separated the first five home with just one hundredth dividing Alex Kipchirchir, 3:33.71 in third, from fellow Kenyan Daniel Kipchirchir Komen in fifth.
It was Komen who led for almost the whole race, taking the field through 400m in 60.96 and 800m in 1:56.48 when he had a lead of five metres. World champion Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain began to close the gap as they approached the bell, with Kipchirchir fourth and Lagat fifth. At this stage Heshko was well down the field.
Komen held on to the lead round the top bend but began to feel the pressure as Kipchirchir and another Kenyan Suleiman Kipses Simotwo attacked. Lagat appeared out of it but as Heshko went past him he clung on following the Ukrainian to the line - just a little too little, a little too late.
“My body was tired form yesterday so honestly I was struggling until I went all out over the last 150 metres,” said Lagat.
Ramzi, who finished back in eighth place, said: “I think I gave everything I had in Helsinki and am now so tired.”