This was going to be a pretty typical world championship 1,500m meters for guys, pretty lamo pace, and then a kick, where guys who can not kick let the pace dawdle and then, it gets fast. But this race, was, actually, quite entertaining…Thanks to a Turkish runner, who wanted the gold, and a Moroccan runner, who wanted the gold even more….
The men’s 1,500 meters was a pedestrian pace, actually slower than most American high school state mile titles, well, until the 800 meter mark.
Abdalaati Iguider from Morocco, has won his share of races. He also knows how to give a good shove and take one as well. Iguider took the field past the 200 meters in 30.96, the 400 meters in 64.78 and the 600 meters in 1:38.89. And the field stayed behind him!
Abdalaati, enjoying this pace, and knowing that he can run a 1:46 or so for the last 800 meters, just kept dawdling, hitting the 800 meters in 2:09.59. Silas Kiplagat of Kenya, who won the US Open earlier this year, and Matt Centrowitz, were menacingly there, and looked dangerous.
The 1,000 meters was hit in 2:39.50, so finally Abdalaait Iguider decided to run a thirty second 200 meters. Menacing behind him was Turkey’s Ilham Tanui Ozbilen, who jumped the field and rammed a 26 second 200 meters down their throat, hitting the 1,200 meters in 3:05.65.
There was some pushing, shoving, and such involved as the field broke up. Kiplagat went to the back of the pack, as did Centrowitz and Laalou. Mekonnen Gebremedhin of Ethiopia, Illham Tanui Ozbilen and Abdalaait Iguider were in full flight, having run the third 400 in 56, and that second 200m in 26.
The Turkish crowd was screaming as people were bumping, retreating, kicking, moving out to the outside lanes, and it looked like, as the field entered the final two hundred meters, that Ozbilen would give Turkey a gold medal.
You have to hand it to Ozbilen, he threw everything at Iguider but the kitchen sink. There were some serious elbow action as Iguider was moved out to lane three or four.
But, Abdalaati Iguider was not to be stopped. He went by Ilham Ozbilen like a freight train, taking the gold in 3:45.21. Ozbilen of Turkey took the silver, in 3:45.35 and Mekonnen Gebremedhin of Ethiopia, took the bronze in 3:45.90.
In fourth, Aman Wote of Ethiopia ran 3:47.02. In fifth, Aman Wote, of Djibouti, ran 3:47.35, and in sixth, Silas Kiplagat of Kenya ran 3:47.42. In seventh, Matthew Centrowitz of the US, who looked very good until the kicking started, stayed close but no cigar, running 3:47.42.
The medal winners dropped a 24.2 for the last 200 meters, 39.7 for the last 300 meters, and the 400 meters in a scintilating 50 second last 400 meters!
Iguider summed it up after the race: ” The race was easy for me. I had a plan for the last 600 meters. The Turkish athlete tried to push me to the outside over the last 100 meters, but I managed to overtake him. In 2010, I was the silver medalist, and this time I am the world champion. This is every athlete’s dream!”
Iguider earned it today. If Ozbilen would have had his way, and he came pretty darn close to stealing the race, but the Moroccan added a gold medal to his collection after the Men’s 1,500 meters.
For more on the 1,500 meters, please look at World Indoors 2012, Day 2: