Bahrain's Rashid Ramzi won the title of the men's 1,500 meters at the 10th world championships on Wednesday.
The Morocco-born clocked three minutes 37.88 seconds for the gold. Morocco's Adil Kaouch took the silver in 3:38.00 and Portugal's Rui Silva won the bronze in 3:38.02.
In the absence of four-time champion Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, Ramzi, who led the world this season in 3:30.00, was hot favored to win the event.
He assumed the lead with 300m left and held on to take the title.
"This medal is very very important for me and my country," said Ramzi. "I am very proud to be able to deliver this gold medal."
He said that the bad weather has affected all the athletes' performance. "The weather played a big problem for everyone, we just could not get the right rhythm. I was hoping we would spread it out a little so I would have more space to run my own race, but I had to wait until the last lap to beat them with my speed."
Ramzi, 26, whose former name is Rachid Khoula, won the silver medal for Morocco at the 1999 African Junior Championships, but seemed unable to break into the top flight athletics and was unemployed.
He moved at the end of 2001 and gained Bahraini citizenship on joining the arm forces.
Coached by Khalid Boulami, he is compiling an excellent championships record and after surprisingly winning the silver at the 2004 world indoor championships, he made an amazing breakthrough at 1,500m.
He also won the gold medal at the 2002 Asian Games and 2003 Asian championships.
Kaouch was happy with the silver, saying: "I focused on the 1, 500m this year, prepared well for the championships and it paid off. We are very happy and very pround of this result today."