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Monday, August 18, 2008
World champion Lagat, Lomong, Manzano out of 1,500 final


BEIJING -- World champion Bernard Lagat of the U.S. failed to qualify for the Olympic 1,500-meter final on Sunday and American hopes of their first title in the event for 100 years are over.

Lagat, who has won silver and bronze for Kenya in the Olympic 1,500 meters, finished sixth in his semifinal and missed the last qualifying spot for Tuesday's final by two hundredths of a second.

"It was so close, for sure, I wanted to go in again feeling good, I had my strategies but at some point, suddenly, I didn't follow it," Lagat said.

Lopez Lomong, who escaped civil war in Sudan as a boy before spending 10 years in a refugee camp and carried the U.S. flag in the Games Opening Ceremony, also failed to advance along with Leonel Manzano.

Favorites Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain, Kenya's Asbel Kipruto Kiprop and France's Mehdi Baala all sailed smoothly through to the final.