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Officials disqualify Holmon in 1,500 final

June 15, 1997 GMT

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ The pressure was on miler Steve Holman to produce on Sunday at the USA Track & Field Championships.

Once again, he didn’t.

At one time tabbed the next great American miler, Holman again came up short in the big meet, this time disqualified for pushing another competitor in the 1,500 meter finals at the Indiana University track.

Before his disqualification was announced, Holman seemed nonchalant about a disappointing second-place finish. Seneca Lassiter pulled away from him in the final straightaway to win in 3 minutes, 45.85 seconds, the second-slowest winning time in the USA meet since 1974.

Holman pulled up over the final 10 meters and finished in 3:46.01.

During his post-race comments, Holman downplayed the significance of his poor performance, referring to the USA Championships as just a qualifying event for the World Championships in Athens, Greece, this August.

``It was a little too breezy, a little too warm. I didn’t want to sacrifice myself,″ he said. ``But apparently no one else did, either.″

Before he learned of his fate, Holman said he was happy just to have qualified for the national team. After the announcement, he slumped back in his chair in disbelief, having failed to come through in yet another big meet.

USA Track & Field spokesman Pete Cava said a backstretch referee disqualified Holman after noticing the boxed-in runner pushing his way forward during the fourth lap. That caused another runner in front of him, believed to be Shannon Lemora, to lose his balance and stumble into a third competitor.

Holman’s protest was denied after the jury of appeals reviewed the race, Cava said.

The latest failure adds to Holman’s resume of missed opportunities. A tibia fracture ruined his hopes of qualifying for the World Championships in 1993 after he opened the season by winning the first American indoor mile.

He failed to make the finals at the USA Championships the next year after being slowed by a virus, and he faded to fifth in the 1995 USA meet finals after leading on the third lap.