Mon, Sep 03, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Lagat in historical double at Worlds


Bernard Lagat made history yesterday by becoming the first man to win both the 5,000m and 1,500m world titles, as Jeremy Wariner and Allyson Felix added more gold to their bulging collections.

Kenyan-born Lagat, who gained US citizenship two years ago but only recently became eligible to compete for them after a mandatory wait under international rules, muscled his way past Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge to win on the line.

The 32-year-old, who won the Olympic bronze in 2000 and the silver in 2004 for Kenya, charged at the bell to clock a time of 13 minutes, 45.87 seconds.

Uganda's Moses Ndiema Kipsiro placed third.

While no one has achieved the rare 5,000m-1,500m feat at the worlds before two men have done so at the Olympics -- Paavo Nurmi in 1924 and Morrocan great Hicham El Guerrouj in 2004.

"The double means a lot to me," said Lagat, and credited El Guerrouj for inspiration. "The story I was following was the one by Hicham El Guerrouji in Athens. I wanted to do the same because he inspired me. He is a wonderful man and friend."

The championships ended with the US topping the medal table with 14 gold, ahead of Kenya on five and Russia on four, but the final day was marred by an "abnormal" doping test.

World athletics chief Lamine Diack would not reveal the name, nationality or the discipline of the athlete involved while the testing procedure is still ongoing.

Another Kenyan, Alfred Yego, claimed his country's first 800m title since 1993 when he finished in 1 minute, 47.09 seconds ahead of Canada's Gary Reed and Russia's Yuriy Borzakovskiy.

"I can't believe I'm the one who won it," 20-year-old Yego said. "At 600m, I felt so relaxed that I felt I could win. So I unleashed my last kick with 100m to go, but I was not sure I actually won the gold by the time I crossed the line."

Ethiopian-born Maryam Yusuf Jamal, now running for Bahrain, clinched the women's 1,500m world title in a time of 3 minutes, 58.75 seconds ahead of Russia's Yelena Soboleva and Ukraine's Iryna Lishchynska.

Wariner capped his championships with a second gold by anchoring the US 4x400m relay team -- which also boasted silver medalist LaShawn Merritt and bronze winner Angelo Taylor -- to victory in 2 minutes, 55.56 seconds.

Jamaica came second and Britain was third.

The US' women, with 200m champion Felix running the second leg, matched the exploits of the men, lifting the title in 3 minutes, 18.55 seconds.

Croatia's Blanka Vlasic has been without peer this year and she made that plain in winning the high jump, clearing 2.05m.

Finland's Tero Pitkamaki claimed the men's javelin gold with a throw of 90.33m, beating Norway's Andreas Thorkildsen into silver and the US' Breaux Greer into bronze.

Earlier, Kenya's Catherine Ndereba, 35, won what she called the toughest race of her career to claim the women's marathon title.

"I guess it was the toughest marathon of my career. It was so hot," the deeply religious Ndereba said. "Some people said after I did not win in Athens or Helsinki that Catherine is finished. But I showed them that with the help of God that I can win again."

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