Algeria’s Imad Touil pulled off a stunning sprint finish in arguably the most exciting race so far of these World Junior Championships.
Kenya’s James Kiplagat Magut lead for the majority of the last lap, having kicked at the bell, and looked an odds-on winner for almost the entire length of the home straight.
But while everyone was watching a late burst from Ethiopia’s Demma Barba, Touil came from nowhere to pass them both over the last few strides.
On the tactical first 400 metres, covered in 62.22, Kenya’s Frederick Musyoki Nduge was doing much of the front-running.
South Africa’s Dumisane Hlaselo and Britain’s David Forrester were also prominent for much of the early stages and the former held the lead on the inside with two laps to go. As he took them through lap two, the split was a pedestrian 67.38, but it wound up on the third lap.
With the bell providing a signal for Magut to surge to the front and Nduge to go with him, lap three’s split was 58.61.
Magut pushed ahead, but was too concerned with the challenge from the Ethiopian to worry about Touil.
“In the last few metres, I was watching the Ethiopian,” said Magut. “I didn’t see the Algerian runner coming on the other side.”
The little-known Touil, who was only 43rd in this year’s World Cross Country Championships junior race, had used the same tactic in the heat. He crossed the line in 3:47.40, 0.11 seconds clear.
Daba was third in 3:47.65, while the 19-year-old winner’s twin brother Abdelmadjed was 11th.
Paul Halford for the IAAF