HEUSDEN, Belgium, July 31 (AFP) - Moroccan middle distance great Hicham El Guerrouj achieved a confidence-boosting pre-Olympics win over 1,500 metres at the IAAF Grand Prix II meet here on Saturday.
The 28-year-old posted the best time of the season with 3min 29.18sec to better the previous best of 3:29.21 set by Kenyan Bernard Lagat in Paris last week.
It was an encouraging time for El Guerrouj whose bid for Olympic gold had been knocked off course earlier this month when he placed eighth in the Golden League meet in Rome and later complained of breathing problems.
The win confirms the form the four-time 1500m world champion’s win at the IAAF Super Grand Prix event in Lausanne three weeks ago.
I've nearly got rid of the allergy problems which have hampered my winter preparations and which explain my under-par performance in Rome,'' he explained. Since then I’ve had several high quality training sessions which prove that I’ve regained the essential of my form which was confirmed this evening.’’
The Moroccan, who is bidding for the Olympic title which has eluded him so far, travels to Zurich Friday for his final 1,500m before the Athens Games.
Belgian Kim Gevaert won the women’s 100m ahead of veteran sprinter Merlene Ottey of Jamaica, while Namibian two-time Olympic medallist Frankie Fredericks was disqualified for a false start in the men’s event where he was favourite.