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Alan Webb _ fastest all season _ stands by his disappointing 1,500-meter run

Alan Webb _ fastest all season _ stands by his disappointing 1,500-meter run

Alan Webb studied and scrutinized his 1,500-meter race and reached one conclusion _ he wouldn't change a thing.
"I actually ran very well," Webb said Thursday. "It just wasn't meant to be."
Webb led most of the way during the 1,500 race at the world track and field championships on Wednesday night. However, he faded down the home stretch and ended up eighth. Webb's teammate, Kenyan- born Bernard Lagat, ran past him to become the first U.S. runner to win a world 1,500-meter championship.
The 24-year-old Webb was so upset after the race that he didn't get to congratulate Lagat that night. But he talked to him on Thursday.
"I'm so happy for him," Webb said. "He was the guy. He did so great."
Webb takes comfort in the fact it took Lagat until he was 32 years old to win his first world title. Then again, Lagat had the misfortune of overlapping the great Hicham El Guerrouj, who Lagat lost to by .12 seconds in the 1,500 at the Athens Olympics.
"It's a good lesson for me to know there's always time," Webb said. "He's 32 and just won his first gold. I just hope I don't have to wait nine years."
Immediately after the finish of the race, Webb was steamed. He was disappointed in himself for what he felt was a poor racing strategy.
"I wish I could have learned a lesson from that, but I learned nothing and got nothing out of it," he said.
On Thursday, Webb regretted the statement.
"I did learn a lot from this," Webb said. "I really did. I ran really well _ for 1,410 meters. As much as I wanted it to be, it wasn't in the cards."
The bitter emotions spilling out of Webb after the race were a result of his disappointment. This was his big chance to live up to the immense expectations in him since he broke Jim Ryun's high school record six years ago.
"It's the first time that I really had a legitimate shot to be up front and contend to win and I didn't. It was heartbreaking to not do it," Webb said.
It's still been a good season for Webb. He ran the fastest time in the world this season in the 1,500 (3:30.54) in early July and then, two weeks later in Belgium, set the American record in the mile at 3:46.91.
"I really am at another level now," he said. "I do deserve to be up in the front of those races. I know that I can do better than that."
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NEW FORMAT: The IAAF is considering a more compact format for its world championships.
The event stretches over nine days, a necessity with athletes from more than 200 confederations competing. The venue is already set for the next three championships: Berlin (2009), Dageu, South Korea (2011) and Moscow (2013). Pierre Weiss, the IAAF general secretary, said some changes could be made. But it will be difficult.
"We are fully aware, we are just balancing the pros and cons," Weiss said. He said any change might be opposed by three cities who have already signed contracts with the IAAF.
"You change the format and they could say: `You sold us tomatoes and now you offer us carrots'."
Weiss said one way to make the championships more compact would be to increase qualifying standards and confine lesser athletes to run in continental championships.
"It would be better for him to compete with athletes on his level," Weiss said. "So we could give more emphasis to the continental championships."
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GATE VS. TV: Attendance has been a problem at these championships. Weekend crowds reached 80 percent of capacity in the 50,000-seat Nagai Stadium, and crowds should be near sellouts for the closing weekend. But midweek has been poorly attended, partially because of Japan's inability to win any medals so far. Its only chance is in Sunday's women's marathon.
Weiss said no TV views figures were available, but ratings were "better than expected" in Europe's big five markets _ Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Spain.
However, Weiss said when he talked to his wife who was back home watching on TV, she said she did not notice the empty seats.
"When I told her the stadium was almost half empty, she said: `Oh, I didn't realize. It is not seen on television'."
"If television would have seen shots (of empty seats), it wouldn't have been nice," Weiss added.
Weiss said cameramen were not given any instructions by the IAAF about what scenes to capture.


Updated : 2021-07-24 03:13 GMT+08:00