Friday, March 12, 2010

Bernard Lagat advances to finals of 3000m with heat victory...

DOHA, Qatar--Washington State University graduate and two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) won his heat of the men's 3000 meter run this afternoon to advance to Sunday's finals at the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Aspire Dome.

Lagat ran 7:59.99 ahead of defending champion Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia (8:00.29). Kenya's Sammy Mutahi (8:00.53) and Spain's Jesus Espana (8:00.65) also qualified for the final, taking the third and fourth automatic places.

Oregon grad and 2009 Bowerman Award winner Galen Rupp earned the fifth spot, running 8:00.90 to advance.

Afterwards, Lagat told the IAAF, "The race did not go as I wanted to. It should be either fast or smooth. But in this race there was a lot of surging in this race. You need a rhythm to go on. It was little bit different today but I felt confident. I was able to keep the speed. I wanted to win this race just to say: Hey, I am here, I am coming up."

In contrast to Lagat's victory in semifinal #2, Kenya's Augustine Choge created his own slice of history by recording the fastest ever winning time in a 3000m heat, winning heat 1, and stopping the clock in an impressive 7:43.80.

In the women's 60 meter hurdles, Rainier Beach HS graduate Ginnie Powell won her heat in 8.07, and advances to Saturday's semifinals. If successful, Powell will advance to the finals Saturday night.

After her heat Friday, Powell told USA Track & Field, "It was alright. I would have liked a faster time. I didn't have the best start because the gun is faint and it was echoing. The track is good though, it feels light and bouncy."

Sunday's finals will be held at 5:00 pm in Doha (6:00 am in Seattle), and will be shown live online at

For more information on the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships, please visit

NOTE: The IAAF media relations department contributed to this report.

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