Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bernard Lagat wins second career world indoor title...

DOHA, Qatar--Washington State University hall of famer Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) won his second career world indoor championship this afternoon at the Aspire Dome, as he emerged victorious in the men's 3000 meter run.

After a pace of 4:11 through 1600, Lagat was positioned in third behind defending champion Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia, as the pace quickened over the final laps.

With 600 to go, Bekele, the younger brother of world and Olympic champion Kenenisa, gradually tried to put the pressure on Lagat, as the duo broke away from the field.

Lagat, the 2004 world indoor 3000m champ as a Kenyan citizen, wound up and ran a 28 second final lap to finish with a final time of 7:37.97.

Spain's Sergio Sanchez finished second in 7:39.55, while Kenya's Sammy Mutahi caught a fading Bekele to get the bronze medal in 7:39.90. Bekele nabbed fourth place in 7:40.10.

The 35-year old Lagat became the oldest man in history to win gold at a World Indoor Championships - he is some 22 days older than the previous eldest - Gerard Lelievre of France, the 1985 5000m walk champion.

Afterwards, the new world champion told the IAAF, "My kids woke up at 7 am in the morning (in Tuscon, Arizona) to watch their daddy. So I needed to show them something. I did exactly what my coach (James Li) told me to do. During the last lap I felt a lot of energy from the crowd. I missed a lot since 2007 so I'm back. My long term goal is Olympic gold from London, most probably at 5km. And this season I want to run some fast times at 3 and 5 km."

Lagat's teammate and 2009 Bowerman Award winner Galen Rupp came back strongly in the final laps to set a new personal best of 7:42.40 to finish fifth, a week after running a mile/800 double in Seattle at the Husky Last Chance meet, while the majority of the American team, including Lagat were already in Doha.

Complete results from the world indoor championships can be accessed here.

For more information on the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships, please visit www.iaaf.org.

NOTE: The IAAF contributed to this report.

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