There is no question Noureddine Morceli of Algeria is the best miler in the world. The only question is how good he can become.
For the second straight week, Morceli demonstrated his superiority over two-time world indoor champion Marcus O'Sullivan, blazing to the third-fastest indoor mile in history Friday night at the Vitalis Meadowlands Invitational.Unlike last Friday's Millrose Games, however, O'Sullivan presented no challenge to Morceli, whose time of 3:50.81 was about a second off the world record 3:49.78 Eamonn Coghlan set on the same track eight years ago.
O'Sullivan finished second by more than six seconds. If he pushed Morceli, the Algerian likely would have owned the record and the $100,000 bonus meet promoters were offering.
"I knew before nobody could push me, but I was expecting Marcus to be there," said Morceli, who turns 21 on Feb. 20. "He's strong. But he didn't have it."
Morceli came to prominence last summer when he ranked No. 1 in the world over 1,500 meters. He's continued his dominance on the indoor boards, something many outdoor specialists have trouble adapting to.
Asked if he believes he's the best miler in the world, Morceli said confidently, but not brashly, "Right now, I am."
Who can argue?
"He's obviously on the way up," said O'Sullivan, who has the fourth fastest indoor mile. "I didn't break four minutes until I was 22. I'm afraid to think what he can do."