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August 19, 2009
Former Wazzu distance ace and defending world champion Bernard Lagat unleashed his patented final kick but was unable to overcome being boxed in at 15o meters from the finish and was only able to capture bronze in the final of the men's 1500 meters at the World Track & Field Championships in Berlin.
Lagat ran a 3:36.20 but it was a tactical error which cost him a back-to-back world championship in the men's 1500 meters. The field stayed compact through the first three laps and when the bell lap came up, half the group, including Lagat, went into overdrive.
"When I heard the bell lap, I was in good position," says Lagat upon viewing the replay of the race.
Lagat stayed comfortably with the leading group but at 250 meters out from the finish, other runners overtook Lagat while he attempted to get into position for his final kick. At 150 meters out, the unthinkable happened - he found himself boxed in as he came around the corner - a classic rookie mistake which Lagat was fuming about afterward.
"I was feeling good, of all the things I wanted to avoid, that was it," says Lagat in frustration. "It's very disappointing."
Lagat was so disappointed by getting boxed that he went so far as to use it as motivation for his attempt at a gold medal in the 5000 meters later in the week.
"I'm in there, baby!" said Lagat before departing from the track.
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Washington State NEWS