Olympic Stadium, London: Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco and Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria did the Arab world proud when they clocked the fastest times winning their respective semi-finals in the men’s 1,500m run here before a packed Olympic Stadium late on Sunday.
Iguider, whose personal best time stands at 3:31.47 chased down the African challenge led by the Kenyan duo of Silas Kiplagat and Nixon Chepseba to win in a time of 3:33.99. Kiplagat followed in second (3:34.6) and Nicholas Willis of New Zealand came in third (3.34.70).
Earlier in the first semi-final, Makhloufi ran a well-paced race while staying in the lead pack and then breaking free in the last 250 m to win the heat in a comparative slow time of 3:42.24.
In the first semi-final, it was Kiprop who was at the front of the pack setting the early pace. But with a little more than 200m to go the Algerian broke away to make the race his own and finish in a time of 3:42.24 leaving the next three to follow in a photo finish between three – with Kenyan Kiprop second (3:42.92), Ethiopia’s Gebremedhin third (3:42.93) and American Leonel Manzano fourth (3:42.94).
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In the second semi-final, the Moroccan kept a close tab on the Kenyan duo and found enough power in his legs for the final sprint to win comfortably. The final will be held on Tuesday.