Ramzi storms to 1500m gold medal

BBC News, 19 August, 2008

Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi held off Kenya’s Asbel Kipruto Kiprop down the final straight to win gold in the 1500m.

Ramzi hit the front with 200m to go and although Kiprop, who set the pace for the first two laps, burst clear of the pack he could not hunt Ramzi down.

Nicholas Willis of New Zealand came third while Great Britain’s Andrew Baddeley finished down in ninth.

Ramzi, who used to compete for his native Morocco, claimed Bahrain’s first Olympic gold medal.

Kenyan duo Kiprop and Augustine Choge, who went into the final as the world number one, had been expected to dominate in Beijing but Ramzi had other ideas.

The Kenyans set a slow pace in the opening laps and Ramzi, the 2005 world champion over 800m and 1500m, kicked at the bell to cross the line in three minutes 32.94 seconds thanks to a 51-second final lap.

Kiprop settled for silver with a time of 3:33.11 with Willis third in 3:34.16 as Choge faded over the final 300m to finish a distant 10th.

Baddeley qualified for his first Olympic final after a run of good form in 2008 saw him step up to world class with victory in the ‘Dream Mile’ at the Oslo Golden League.

But the Briton’s tactic did not pay off in a fast-paced final: “I made the right move and was in the right place at the bell but couldn’t do any more.

“A medal was my goal if I’m being honest. Making the final, I’m really pleased with that.

“Obviously the semi-final took a lot out of me and today I made the right move and thought I was in the right place at the bell but I couldn’t go anymore.

“There was some pretty bad spiking half way round and it knocked me out of my stride a little bit.

“I gave it a good go, I was where I wanted to be at the bell and I tried to push on with them but couldn’t. There’ll be no regrets because I gave it a good go.

“I’m disappointed to come so far down that field, especially after running so well in the heats. It’s tough out there, it’s the Olympics.

“It’s definitely motivation for me. I’ll go away, train even harder and I’ll be fitter next year and push on from there.”