Men's 3000m Final: Bernard Lagat Outkicks Farah, Soi and Choge to Join Gebrselassie
March 11, 2012
Make no dout about it 37 year old Bernard Lagat is still the best 3000m runner in the world. On the final lap, Lagat used his patented kick to outclass Mo Farah of Britain and Kenyans Edwin Soi and Augustin Choge to win world indoor gold #3, joining the great Haile Gebrselassie with three indoor 3000m titles.
Maybe father time is slowly catching up to Lagat as this year he did not have the luxury of waving to the crowd down the final straight as he did in his 2010 victory. He still had time to ease up before the finish having outsprinted the best in the world.
How the Race Played Out
Augustine Choge, the 2010 world leader, immediately went to the front here and was followed by Kenyan teammate Soi. Choge took the field through modest paces of 2:06.5 and 4:14.26. During the next quarter mile, Soi got antsy and took over the lead and after the 2000 (5:16.92) began increasing the pace.
Highlights of the Men's 3000m With the Last 800m
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The next 400 was quicker (60.60) and the main contenders were positioning themselves for the final kick with just 600m to go. With a little more than 500m to go Farah went to the front to try and run the kick out of the field.
Farah's move was not a decisive one and with 300m to go Choge retook the lead. At the bell, Choge led with Lagat on his outside shoulder, with Farah behind Choge and Soi on his shoulder. The four main protagonists were racing for the medals. Choge powered down the backstretch but Lagat quickly closed the gap and took the lead heading into the final turn. After that this one was no longer in doubt. Lagat extended his lead to the finish while Choge furiously tried to do something about it. Choge was straining so hard he lost his balance on his own around the turn and took one step in the infield. Just behind Choge, Soi and Farah had been battling the entire final circuit for the bronze. There was contact between them on the backstretch and now just before they exited the final turn, they collided again as Soi tried to cut in on Farah. Soi won this collision as the contact made Farah take a step in the infield, lose his momentum, and it left Soi in lane 1. Farah now had no choice but to go wide. He tried his best to catch Soi who himself was gaining on Choge for the silver. In the end, Choge held off Soi by .01 and Farah despite a tremendous lean was .01 behind Soi who got the bronze. (Soi was initially disqualified for bumping Farah but then resinstated to the bronze medal)
Dejen Gebremeskel got 5th and American Lopez Lomong was 6th in a pb of 7:44.16. Commonwealth double gold champion Moses Kipsiro was 6th. Aussie Craig Mottram who looked great in the heats was not a factor here as he was in last for much of the race and moved up with about 800 to go, but once the real running started could not respond.
After a semi-final where Lagat nearly was disqualified and nearly did not make the final because of a tactical mistake, Lagat executed brilliantly in the final and still showed his great kick at the advanced age of 37. He told Channel 4, "It was quite tough. I knew this was not going to be slow. I didn't want to get into the trouble of the first round (where) I was tip toeing at the end. I was quite lucky to make it in (to the final)." As for beating Farah who relegated him to silver in Daegu, Lagat said, "It was not revenge. I wanted to run strong." Two years ago Lagat was the oldest 3000m winner at Worlds. How can he be so good at 37? "I've been injury free and that is the key to staying strong."
A disappointed Farah who faces a ton of pressure this year with British hopes riding on his shoulders for the London Olympics said, "It was very difficult. I was disappointed to finish 4th. I got pushed a bit... you lose your rhythm but that's part of the sport... At the Olympics, I won't run the 3k, but it's a good learning curve."
Quick Thoughts: Lagat was born to run the 3000m. The perfect combination of speed and distance. Winning the gold in the 5000m in London will be tougher.
Mo Farah was disappointed ,but this performance is not a big deal or a surprise. 3000m is not his best distance and Farah was .02 from a silver.
Someone needs to teach the Kenyans how to lean better. Farah's lean almost got him a medal.
Choge finally got a medal at a World Championships. He's a huge talent (3:29.47, 12:53.66) but has bombed at a quite a few Championships. 5th place at last year's Worlds was much better for him and here he got a medal.
Young Ethiopian Yenew Alamirew disappointed.
Results below and IAAF interviews.
Lagat On His Gold
Choge Settles for Silver
|2||184||Augustine Kiprono Choge||KEN||7:41.77||.|
|3||188||Edwin Cheruiyot Soi||KEN||7:41.78||.|
|7||303||Moses Ndiema Kipsiro||UGA||7:44.59||.|
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