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Aregawi learns from mistakes to secure 1,500m gold

Abeba Aregawi of Sweden celebrates her victory during the women's 1500 metres final of the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Luzhnik
Abeba Aregawi of Sweden celebrates her victory during the women's 1500 metres final of the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Luzhnik

By Alison Wildey

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Sweden's Ethiopian-born Abeba Aregawi learned from her Olympic mistake and produced a devastating final 300 meters to deny defending champion Jennifer Simpson a second 1,500 meters gold at the world championships on Thursday.

Simpson managed to find another gear coming towards the line as she fought desperately to retain her title but it was too late and Aregawi, who was cleared to compete for the Sweden last December, finished clear of the field in four minutes 2.67 seconds.

American Simpson, her ponytail bobbing frantically behind her, had to settle for silver in 4:02.99 and Kenya's Hellen Obiri took the bronze with 4:03.86.

"After my failure at the Olympics last year, I worked specifically on the final 400 meters and on improving my finish. Today the race suited me perfectly," said Aregawi.

Competing for Ethiopia, she had been a medal hope at London 2012 but found herself out of position and then almost fell in the final meters to finish fifth.

"I had trained very well to win in London but it was basically a technical mistake. I didn't put myself in the correct position and there was a bit of jostling but I've corrected that," she told a news conference through a translator.

Determined not to make a similar error in Moscow, the 23-year-old moved into second on the shoulder of Simpson with two laps to go and then, with the field still bunched behind her, kicked for home at the bell.

The injection of pace started to stretch her rivals and Aregawi, undefeated this year, opened up a decisive gap on Simpson up the back straight to give Sweden their first world championship middle distance gold.

There was to be no further medal celebrations for the Dibaba family as Aregawi's former Ethiopian team mate Genzebe, younger sister of 10,000 meters world champion Tirunesh, could only manage eighth.

American 17-year-old prodigy Mary Cain, coached by Alberto Salazar - the man credited with making Britain's multi distance champion Mo Farah into a winner - was 10th.

Turkey's Olympic champion Asli Cakir Alptekin was not in Moscow after being provisionally suspended due to irregularities in her biological passport.

(Editing by Mark Meadows)

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