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Save the Date September 29th 2019
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Olympic Running Events (II): 1,500 m men with Hicham El Guerrouj

The situation at 1,500 m

Normally there is only one big favourite at 1,500 metres: Hicham El

Guerrouj. For years the Moroccan has dominated middle distances from 1,500

metres. Additionally he has shown his enormous potential at 5,000 metres. At

the world championships in Paris 2003 he had won the 1,500 metre title for the

fourth time in a row. But the 29 year-old has never been Olympic Champion.

"right" />No one could yet get anywhere near to El Guerrouj’s 1,500 m

world record of 3:26,00 minutes from 1998. Also last year he was again the

fastest 1,500 m runner in the world with 3:28,40. Frenchman Mehdi Baala was

number two (3:28,98) and also the silver medal winner at the world

championships. Bernhard Lagat (Kenya) did not seem to be bale to come near to

his best times again recently. Still it is not El Guerrouj who is the fastest

this year at this early stage of the season: Alan Webb (USA) ran 3:32,73. In

third position is Eliud Kipchoge with 3:33,20 – it is the Kenyan who beat

El Guerrouj in the 5,000 metres world championships’ final.

But Hicham El Guerrouj had not a good start into the season. He won a second

class 1,500 m race in 3:36,49. But if he should be in top form in Athens and

manages to keep the pace high in the final he will be very difficult to

beat.

Hicham El Guerrouj – no luck yet at the

Olympics

Since 1996 Hicham El Guerrouj has lost only three of his 84 races at 1,500

metres or the mile. But his losses could hardly have been more tragic. Among

them were the two most important races of his career. At the 1996 Olympics he

fell in the 1,500 metres final, which was won by Noureddine Morceli (Algeria).

Four years later in Sydney, again at the Olympic 1,500 metres final, he was

beaten by Noah Ngeny. The Kenyan passed El Guerrouj on the home straight. It

was the final sprint at which El Guerrouj had seemed to be unbeatable before.

It was like a knockout for the Moroccan. Hicham El Guerrouj nearly ended his

career. It was mainly his sister who motivated him to carry on.

Because of El Guerrouj’s long unbeaten run it was the British middle

distance legend Steve Ovett who said that his rivals should attack instead of

being frightened.

„This time I am ready. I will not loose again, I will win the Olympic

final”, Hicham El Guerrouj said recently. He has won many gold medals so

far and three times was a shared winner of the IAAF Golden League. But Olympic

gold is still missing. Hicham El Guerrouj has as usual trained in the Moroccan

Atlas mountains for this season. And he gets even royal support by the king of

Morocco.

 

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