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Morceli, Bubka Ousted Early

September 28, 2000|MIKE PENNER

SYDNEY, Australia — Two defending Olympic champions and one world-record holder failed to qualify for their finals at Wednesday's Olympic track and field competition--Algeria's Nourredine Morceli in the men's 1,500 and France's Jean Galfione and Ukraine's Sergey Bubka in the men's pole vault.

Entering the final straightaway, Morceli was tripped by American Jason Pyrah and lost his balance, falling to the back of the pack and jogging to the finish last in his heat, shaking his head in disgust.

"It was a very tactical race," Morceli said. "Over the last 100 meters, I lost my balance and rhythm and everyone passed me and there was nothing I could do. It just happened. I was spiked and pushed."

Morceli displayed a large gash on his leg to reporters.

"I'm disappointed," he said, "but it happened to [Morocco's Hicham] El Guerrouj in Atlanta, it just happened to Gail Devers. Anything can happen, injuries, it is just a part of sport.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday September 29, 2000 Home Edition Special Section Part U Page 10 Sports Desk 1 inches; 25 words Type of Material: Correction
Track and field--Distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj was misidentified in a photo Thursday. Noureddine Morceli of Algeria, whose first name was misspelled, is pictured at right.
PHOTO: (no caption)

"I'm disappointed not to get a medal at my last Olympic Games. I came here to get a medal, not just to show myself."

Bubka, who holds the world record in the pole vault at 20 feet 1 3/4 inches, failed to mark in Wednesday's qualifying round. Galfione, who cleared an Olympic record 19-5 1/4 to win the 1996 gold medal, finished tied for 15th with a best mark of 18-2 1/2.

Thirteen vaulters qualified for the final, including Americans Nick Hysong and Lawrence Johnson, who placed first and 10th, respectively.

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