Lagat Takes 1500m Bronze Medal at World Track & Field Championships

Aug. 19, 2009

(Photo courtesy of Paul Merca)BERLIN, Germany -- Former Washington State All-American and Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat captured the bronze medal for the USA in the men's 1500m at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin Wednesday evening.

Lagat (WSU '99), the defending world champion in the 1500m, ran a time of 3 minutes, 36.20 seconds in the final. The gold medal went to Yusuf Saad Kamel, a former Kenyan now running for Burundi, in a time of 3:35.93, and the silver medalist was Deresse Mekonne from Ethiopia, in a time of 3:36.01.

Paul Merca, on his blog, described the race this way: With 300 meters to go, Lagat, normally a superb tactician, appeared in good position for his patented late-race rush, but got pinned to the inside of the rail when it came time for the critical move to be made.

He spent most of the last 150 trying to get out of the box he was in, and expended his energy by running left to right instead of straight ahead. Many observers noted that he was even fortunate to medal, given the predicament he was in on the last lap.

Afterwards, he told reporters, 'Everything I was trying to avoid in this race, it happened. That was the hardest box ever. This is a box that was happening a little too close to the finish. Normally, when it happens, with 300 meters to go, you can make your way out of it. This one happened at the wrong place, with 150 meters to go. I couldn't do anything.'

Lagat is also the defending world champion in the men's 5000m and will start the defense of that title with the qualifying heats set for Thursday evening in Berlin.

For daily insights into the happenings at the World Championships and particularly all the competitors with Northwest ties, visit

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