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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 19:45 GMT 20:45 UK
El Guerrouj takes fourth title
Hicham El Guerrouj (right) eases over the line ahead of France's Mehdi Baala
Hicham El Guerrouj confirmed his status as one of the all-time greats as he outclassed the opposition to win his fourth consecutive 1500m world title.

The Moroccan made the decisive break with two laps to go and always looked comfortable as he beat European champion Mehdi Baala into second and the Ukraine's Ivan Heshko into third.

El Guerrouj, who won in a time of three minutes 31.77 seconds, will now turn his attention to a bid to win a historic double in the 5,000m, with the first heat scheduled for Thursday.

"I was so excited about this race that I could not sleep for five days," said El Guerrouj.

"I decided to accelerate with 900 metres to go and that was the right decision.

"I am very happy. I concentrated on the race and ran it very fast, very easy."

The 28-year-old had enough energy left when he crossed the line to celebrate in unusual style with a display of air guitar.

"I like the Rolling Stones," he explained.

Baala - who finished in a time of 3:32.31 - gave France their second silver medal of the championships.

Kenya's Paul Korir finished fourth and this was the first time since 1997 that the African nation had finished outside the medals.


Men's 1500m results:

1. Hicham El Guerrouj (Mar) 3mins 31.77secs
2. Mehdi Baala (Fra) 3:32.31
3. Ivan Heshko (Ukr) 3:33.17
4. Paul Korir (Ken) 3:33.47
5. Rui Silva (Por) 3:33.68
6. Reyes Estvez (Spa) 3:33.84
7. Gert-Jan Liefers (Ned) 3:33.99
8. Fouad Chouki (Fra) 3:34.05
9. Vyacheslav Shabunin (Rus) 3:34.37
10. Isaac Songok (Ken) 3:34.39
11. Roberto Parra (Spa) 3:35.02
12. Juan Carlos Higuero (Spa) 3:38.49




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Hicham El Guerrouj
"I'm very, very happy"



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