Bernard Lagat

From Academic Kids

Bernard Kipchirchir Lagat (born: December 12, 1974 in Kapsabet Kenya) is a middle and long distance athlete.

Bernard attended Washington State University, as had previous athletic greats Henry Rono, Mike Kosgei and Mike Boit, from where he graduated in 2000 in management information systems.

Bernard was among those Kenyan athletes along with Richard Limo and Reuben Kosgei who were heavily criticised for missing the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England choosing instead to chase the dollars on offer in the IAAF Golden League.

In 2003 Bernard pulled out of the IAAF World Championships in Athletics Paris, France after being told he had tested positive [1] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/athletics/3078642.stm) for erythropoietin, (EPO), on August 8 whilst competing in Germany. He was suspended from competition but this was later lifted when a B sample tested negative. On hearing this good news he issued a statement saying "I hope this outcome will also remove any suggestion that I have ever taken drugs."

Kenyan to U.S. citizen

In March 2005 Lagat announced that he had been a U.S. citizen since May 7th 2004 despite competing for Kenya in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Since Kenya does not allow dual citizenship his silver medal in the 1500m is at stake depending on how Kenya interprets its own laws (As of May 2005 no news on this issue). Due to this switch of nationality Lagat will have to serve a ban from international championship events. As of May 2005 he will miss the IAAF World Championships to be held in Helsinki. A similar switch of nationality, in this case Kenyan to Danish, caused Wilson Kipketer to miss the 1996 Olympic Games.

The U.S. does allow dual citizenship and consequently races run by Lagat after May 7th can be ratified as American records. His 3:27.40 win in the 1500 meters last August, 6 in Zurich would become a new American record for 1500m beating the current record of 3:29.77, set by Sydney Maree in 1985. Indoors Lagat ran a mile at Fayetteville on Feb. 11 2005 in 3:49.89 and was timed at 3:33.34 en route for 1500 meters. These performances would both replace the current records by Jeff Atkinson, 3:38.12 (1989) for the 1500 meter indoor record and Steve Scott, 3:51.8 (1981) for the indoor record in the mile.

The U.S. governing body will decide whenther these records will stand at its annual meeting to be held in December 2005. USATF rules only state that an athlete has to be a U.S. citizen competing in a sanctioned competition to be eligible to set a national record.

Major achievements

(all 1500 m)

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