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Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Sumary

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  • Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Sumary

    Date Location Distance Time Place
    7-2-2004 Rome 1500 3:32.64 8
    Hicham El Guerrouj finished in a suprising eighth place in the 1500m in today's Rome Golden Gala meeting. Hicham El Guerrouj started the race by following the pacemarkers through 400m(55.56), 800m(1:52.60), and up to 1000m. After that Hicham took over but as the bell for the last lap sounded ... Mehdi Baala of France sped past El Guerrouj to take the lead! Bernard Lagat of Kenya and Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain stayed in close contention on the last lap. Hicham tried to overtake Mehdi and got close to him with 250m to go but couldn't advance any further. He tried to pass Baala on the final bend but his finishing burst wasn't there. He was poorly positioned coming off the final bend and had nowhere to move when he tried to launch his finishing kick. With 60 meters left Hicham slowed down and was passed by many racers, eventually finishing in 8th place. Up in the front Bernard Lagat passed Mehdi Baala but Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain was still nearby. He burst between Lagat and Baala, with Lagat taking the brunt of his move, and won the race! He left an angry Lagat, suprised Baala, and disappointed El Guerrouj in his wake. Rashid clocked a personal record 3:30.25 for 1500 meters to defeat Hicham El Guerrouj, Bernard Lagat, Mehdi Baala, and many more talented racers in an astonishing Golden League event, in which ten runners finished in 3:32 or faster!

    Rashid used to compete for Morocco but switched nationalities to Bahrain in 2002. He also was a former training partner of Hicham, but now seems to be out of the shadow of El Guerrouj. He was recently second place at this years World Indoor Championships 800m race. He also holds the fastest time in the world this year in the 1500m, 3:31.87, which he set in a meeting in Alger 8 days ago. He improved on that performance today with this victory. His previous best time in the metric mile before this year was 3:39.30, so the 23 year old has shown massive improvements. It is unclear whether or not Rashid Ramzi will compete in the Athens Olympics. He has previously in past years represented Morocco in competitions. The International Olympic Committee's regulations may disallow him to compete in Athens, similar to the situation of Saif Saaeed Shaheen of Qatar(formerly Stephen Cherono of Kenya). You may remember that Shaheen defeated Hicham El Guerrouj in the 2003 Ostrava 5000 meters race by running 12:48, under the Kenyan name of Stephen Cherono. He then switched nationalities from Kenya to Qatar in August 2003. He won the gold medal at the 2003 World Championships 3000m steeplechase but was then denied access to compete in the Athens Olympics by the Kenyan Federation and/or the IOC. A similar situation could occur with Rashid Ramzi, but he says he's preparing for the Olympic Games.

    Hicham El Guerrouj had won 26 straight 1500m races before today's competition, now the streak has been broken. He has only lost in the 1500m, Mile, or 2000m three times from 1996 until today. The first loss came in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics 1500m final when with a lap to go he and Noureddine Morceli of Algeria collided. Hicham fell, got up, and finished in 12th place while Morceli won the race. The next loss came in the 1997 Grand Prix final's mile race. The race was slow and tactical, which allowed Robert Andersen, the Kenyan born racer for Denmark, to barely outsprint Hicham in the end. The next loss came in the 2000 Sydney Olympics 1500m final when in the final 100 meters Noah Ngeny of Kenya burst past Hicham to take the gold medal. Hicham has won his last three 1500m races before this by margins of .03, .04, and .05 so he has definetely been challenged but up until now he has always come out the victor. Hicham El Guerrouj said before the today that this race would be the real start to his season, even though he won a 1500m race in Zaragoza, Spain, last month. He also expressed the reasons he barely won in Zaragoza, in a relatively slow time for him. He said that it was because he became the father of a child, Hiba, just a few days prior and that made him less focused. He slept on the hospital room floor with his wife Najoua Lahbil and his daughter. He then went to Spain but instead of preparing for the race he was preparing for his daughters christening and also during the race he wasn't focused as he usually is. He came out the victor in Zaragova anyway but Rome appears to be a different story.

    Hicham was not alone in defeats today as Ana Guevara lost the womens 400m race. Hicham and Ana hold the two current longest winning streaks in athletics before today ended. Ana lost the 400m for the first time since 2001 and her defeat came only ten short minutes before Hicham's. The crowd in the Rome Olympic stadium was dealt two major shocks within ten minutes at two of the sports biggest stars came crashing down.

    Quotes from Hicham El Guerrouj
    "I don't know what happened. I haven't got my rhythm yet. That race has given me more desire to train hard." He also said that pushing and shoving late in the race made it feel like a "boxing match" but that he ultimately he lost to younger legs. He also said he would race the 1500m in the Athletissima meet on July 6th in Laussane before heading home to Morocco to finish his Olympic training.(He also has scheduled races in Stockholm, London, and Zurich.)

    Quotes from Rashid Ramzi
    "I was not expecting to win but I have the best time of the season. The presence of El Guerrouj, Baala, and Lagat gave me the chance to do this. After this race, we can say that my mental preparation is 100 percent, but it's too early to say for my physical condition. This victory is the result of hard work. I will continue to work in the same way plus I will do a bit more speed work. I'm surprised by what happened to Hicham because he is a great champion."

    Quotes from Mehdi Baala
    "I have no regrets, I beat Hicham. I wasn't in great shape, it was hot and the conditions were difficult. I expected Hicham to perform better. He knows he's the best but maybe that put pressure on him and stressed him."

    Personal note from www.kingofthemile.com webmaster Michael Bautista
    "Hicham El Guerrouj did indeed suffer a rare and unfortunate setback today. But it doesn't have to be that way. This loss can spur him on and motivate him. To train even better, to work even harder, and to focus even more on his goals for the future. A true champion is not made with one victory. A true champion is not unmade with one loss. A true champion is made through many years time. Through all the victories, through all the defeats, through all the good days, and through all the bad days. That athlete can go through the worst possible conditions, get through it somehow, and then come back and say, "You know what? I'm gonna keep fighting, I'm not going to give up. I will never give up. It doesn't matter that I lost today, in fact it's probably a good thing, since it'll motivate me to become even better. To come back stronger, smarter, and faster. I know now what I need to do to become the best there ever was, and you know what? I'm gonna do it!". Hicham El Guerrouj is this athlete. After the loss in Atlanta, he came back. After the loss in Sydney, he came back. After today's loss in Rome, he'll come back. In my heart I know that he is the image for what we can be and accomplish if we try our best and never give up. He will never give up, never stop working, never stop trying, and never stop fighting. For Hicham El Guerrouj is a true champion."

    Golden Gala - Rome, Italy - July 2nd, 2004, 21:10 - Mens 1500m

    World Record 3:26.00 Hicham El Guerrouj MAR Rome 7-14-1998
    Meeting Record 3:26.00 Hicham El Guerrouj MAR Rome 7-14-1998
    World Lead 3:31.87 Ramzi Rashid BRN Alger 6-24-2004

    Position Name Country Yob Bib Order Time
    1 Rashid Ramzi BRN 80 249 12 AR WL 3:30.25
    2 Bernard Lagat KEN 74 2 17 SB 3:30.81
    3 Mehdi Baala FRA 78 60 16 SB 3:31.25
    4 Isaac Songok KEN 84 49 15 SB 3:31.94
    5 Rui Silva POR 77 50 4 SB 3:32.13
    6 Alex Kipchirchir KEN 84 58 13 SB 3:32.35
    7 Michael East GBR 78 56 10 PB 3:32.37
    8 Hicham El Guerrouj MAR 74 62 18 3:32.64
    9 Nick Willis NZL 83 47 2 PB 3:32.68
    10 Mounir Yemmouni FRA 83 46 1 PB 3:32.97
    11 Gert-Jan Liefers NED 78 54 8 SB 3:33.87
    12 Kevin Sullivan CAN 74 48 3 SB 3:34.43
    13 Juan Carlos Higuero ESP 78 59 14 SB 3:34.48
    14 Vyacheslav Shabunin RUS 69 51 5 SB 3:35.50
    15 Aniss Selmouni MAR 79 52 6 SB 3:37.36
    16 Paul Korir KEN 77 55 9 3:37.69
    -- Arthemon Hatungimana BUR 74 64 20 DNF
    -- Benjamin Kipkurui KEN 80 57 11 DNF
    -- David Lelei KEN 71 63 19 DNF
    -- Christian Obrist ITA 80 53 7 DNF

    Intermediate times:
    400m 55.56 Arthemon Hatungimana BUR
    800m 1:52.60 David Lelei KEN

    Chief Judge: Mario Lattanzi (ITA)

    Iaaf article - http://www.iaaf.org/GLE04/news/Kind=2/newsId=25816.html
    Meet website - http://www.goldengala.it/
    Meet pictures - http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source ... 0&p=7&pk=4

  • #2
    Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

    From the above:

    "...it was hot and the conditions were difficult."

    Unless you are from the sprinting fraternity, that comment is inconsistent with this from the Rome thread:

    "BBC Five Live reports "stunning conditions" in Rome."

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

      It was warm but not "hot." My feeling was that the conditions were near perfect: warm enough for the sprinters but not too warm for the distance guys.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

        The key to the race, and the most amazing thing, was that at the bell, at a very fast pace, when El G usually has surged clear of the field, Baala actually passed him and went through the 1200 in 2:49. So someone finally (or at least very very rarely) had the sense and guts to try to get ahead of him, even when the pace was so quick.

        Has El G ever come back on anyone with 300 meters to go at that fast a pace?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

          >The key to the race, and the most amazing thing, was that at the bell, at a
          >very fast pace, when El G usually has surged clear of the field, Baala actually
          >passed him and went through the 1200 in 2:49.

          Actually it was El G lack of usual form that was the key. This gave Baala the opportunity to strike and take the lead at the bell.
          The early pace (55.5 - 57) was really not that fast (compared to what we have been used to see in El G races) and he still never looked comfortable.
          As for the conditions the winning times in the Steeplechase and the 5000 disproves any claim that it was too hot in any way.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

            I respectfully disagree -- last year in Golden League, 2:49 at 3 laps would have El G well clear of the field. This time was different -- yes, his lack of form didn't allow him to challenge successfully over the last 300, but even in best form last year, I don't believe he was running any faster -- it's just that they stayed with him this time. I'm just going by memory of how fast El G was going in the races last summer, could be wrong, but I don't recall many races going faster than 2:35 at 1100 and 2:49 at 1200 -- without El G being clear of the field.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

              El G might be a bit off, true. The birth of a child could have skewed his training a bit. BUT - Baala jumped in front of him even though the field came through in 2:49+. No one ever tries that. I think El G was shocked, and he might be in for more surprises, as I'd bet Baala isn't near top form yet. El G simply isn't used to having to battle guys from behind over the last 100, 200, or 300 meters. Last night they stuck to him like glue, almost hanging off him like kids do jumping onto the rear of a bus on city streets.

              The winner did push Lagat and Baala aside, but look at what Lagat was doing on the backstretch. Elbowing and shoving, so he was getting back what he handed out. Lagat is not the homestretch sprint type anyway. On an unrelated note, can someone explain the Lagat situation to me? I know he was let off last year, with his "B" sample being declared negative. But I remember reading that WADA says a "false positive" cannot happen with the test that is admininstered. A false negative could occur - as with other drug and medical tests - but not a false positive. What is up with him? Is the test really flawed, or was it politics - or shoe money or just a foul-up? (All sorts of goofy takes are on the letsrun board when it comes to this)

              Anyway, the Rome race reminded me of Ryun topping Snell as a high schooler. The "also ran" jumped in front of the champ and simply wouldn't let him by. El G had no room, or he had no answer. He shouldn't have let up in the stretch like that though. That is not a good sign, especially from a champion.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

                >races going faster than 2:35 at 1100 and 2:49 at 1200 -- without El G being
                >clear of the field.


                You're kidding/ It's rare to see El Guerrouj AS SLOW as 2:49.

                (stats from somewhere in cyberspace)

                3:26.00 El Guerrouj 7/14/98 (2:46.34) (39.66) Rome
                3:26.12 El Guerrouj 8/24/01 (2:46.10) (40.02) Brussels
                3:26.45 El Guerrouj 8/12/98 (2:46.49) (39.96) Zurich
                3:26.89 El Guerrouj 8/09/02 (2:46.27) (40.62) Zurich

                3:26.96 El Guerrouj 9/08/02 (2:44.75) (42.21) Reiti

                3:27.21 El Guerrouj 8/11/00 (2:46.22) (40.99) Zurich
                3:27:24 El Guerrouj 7/19/02 (2:45.78) (41.46) Monaco
                3:27.65 El Guerrouj 8/24/99 (2:46.79) (40.86) Seville
                3:28.21 El Guerrouj 7/7/99 (2:47.0) (41.2) Rome
                3:28.37 El Guerrouj 8/8/98 (2:47.92) (40.45) Monaco
                3:28.38 El Guerrouj 7/6/01 (unknown) (?) St. Denis
                3:28.57 El Guerrouj 8/11/99 (2:46.61) (41.96) Zurich
                3:28.91 El Guerrouj 8/13/97 (2:48.24) (40.67) Zurich
                3:28.92 El Guerrouj 8/22/97 (2:47.04) (41.88) Brussels
                3:29.05 El Guerrouj 8/23/96 (unknown) (?) Brussels
                3:29.06 El Guerrouj 8/17/01 (2:46.90) (42.16) Zurich

                3:26.34 Lagat 8/24/01 (unknown) (?) Brussels

                3:27.37 Morceli 7/12/95 (2:47.1) (40.3) Nice
                3:27.52 Morceli 7/24/95 (2:47.26) (40.26) Monaco

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

                  >El G might be a bit off, true. The birth of a child could have skewed his
                  >training a bit.

                  Or could it be, it's an Olympic year and his season is only just starting? Nah, what was I thinking.....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

                    Now is the time for everyone that has children to chime in about those first few weeks with little or no sleep.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

                      >
                      >races going faster than 2:35 at 1100 and 2:49 at 1200 -- without El G
                      >being
                      >clear of the field.


                      You're kidding/ It's rare to see El Guerrouj
                      >AS SLOW as 2:49.

                      Thanks for these stats -- I was hoping someone had something like this. It gives me a clearer picture of the paces he's run at. I appreciate your finding these --

                      I note that you have no races provided for 2003, and only 3 for '01 and '02 (maybe those were the only 1500s he ran in those two years). These appear to be all of his fastest races, where he definitely did go faster than 2:49. And I'm sure he was clear of the field in these races, too --

                      I wasn't saying that El G hasn't run faster than those splits -- which you clearly showed is the case. But perhaps it's just my fuzzy recollection of him being clear of the field in so many races at 1100 and 1200 meters (and maybe some of these were miles), including most of last year, when he probably was running slower than the above splits indicate. I just don't have the info at hand; perhaps you do.

                      While the Worlds clearly are different races, not comparable to paced GL meets, El G was leading the field in 2001 at 2:35 and 2:49 in 2001; and was ahead at 2:37 and 2:51 in 2003; however, he wasn't clear of the field by any signficant distance.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

                        Seems like everything is wide open this year!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

                          >I note that you have no races
                          >provided for 2003, and only 3 for '01 and '02 (maybe those were the only 1500s
                          >he ran in those two years). These appear to be all of his fastest races, where
                          >he definitely did go faster than 2:49. And I'm sure he was clear of the field
                          >in these races, too --

                          That because TAFN put these up on the Track List years ago. El G has run a lot more since then. Watch it, when Garry Hill pulls up his jack boots, he'll take it down -- because copyrighted facts must be preserved.



                          MAke a copy for yourself

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

                            I checked a couple of GL races in 2002 -- Brussels and Berlin -- in Brussels El G led at 2:37 and 2:50; and in Berlin he led in 2:35 and 2:49.

                            He wasn't exactly clear of the field -- in fact Lagat was bravely challenging in both. But no one had tried to get past him at 1100 or 1200, as they did this year in Rome.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Hicham El Guerrouj - Rome Golden Gala 1500m 2004 Race Su

                              Malmo please give me the source on the splits, I could use stuff like this for my site

                              Comment

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