IAAF.org: Being overlooked played into Said-Guerni
stunning victory capped a tremendous comeback for the 26 year-old Siad-Guerni
2003-09-04The only thing about the mens 800m final that was predictable was its unpredictability. But even then, Algerian Djabir Said-Guerni was on few observers radar screens. And being ignored suited him just fine.
"It was a good position for me to be an outsider," said Said-Guerni. "I was able to prepare very well."
His preparation showed. Said-Guerni, The 2002 African Champion and bronze medallist at Sydney, immediately tucked in behind leader Wilson Kipketer from the gun, and was never further back than third. Until, that is, his stunning finishing lunge to edge Russian Yuriy Borzakovskiy by just three one-hundredths of a second in 1:44.81. Only the 1999 World Championships race in Sevilla, with a two one-hundredths margin of victory, was closer.
The stunning victory capped a tremendous comeback for the 26 year-old Siad-Guerni, who lives just three kilomters from the Stade de France. After his bronze medal performances in Seville and Sydney, he was sidelined with a serious achilled tendon injury the following year. So close to the pinnacle of his event, his career was in jeopardy of coming to a sudden end.
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