The top 10 athletes of 2023 so far

Another Spanish indoor success

Compared to earlier years the format of this race has changed. Eight runners, rather than just six, were admitted to the final. This race showed why the idea might need reconsideration. The early rounds showed a lot of bumping and stumbles. The tighter indoor tracks are hardly suitable for such large fields.

One athlete who had apparently foreseen this was Adrián Ben. While a lot of athletes were having a rough ride up front Ben stayed well back. It wasn't until the bell that he made his move, settling in behind leader Benjamin Robert. When Robert dashed for home, Ben was able to follow. Most other athletes had spent a lot of energy by then. Only Crestan was able to stay close, and he would finish third.

On the final straight Ben was clearly the faster of the two. With a final desperate effort he drew level with Robert on the line. Or did he? Neither athlete was sure. Only after close inspection of the finish photo were the two separated. Ben was awarded the gold by just three thousandths of a second.

It is another victory in a remarkable line of recent Spanish successes on the 800m indoor. Four years ago Álvaro de Arriba was European Indoor Champion. Last year Mariano García became World Indoor Champion, and now Ben joins that list as well.

 1  Adrián Ben             ESP   1:47.34 (.335)
 2  Benjamin Robert        FRA   1:47.34 (.338)
 3  Eliott Crestan         BEL   1:47.65  
 4  Amel Tuka              BIH   1:47.90  
 5  Andreas Kramer         SWE   1:48.15  
 6  Guy Learmonth          GBR   1:48.46  
 7  Catalin Tecuceanu      ITA   1:48.54  
 8  Simone Barontini       ITA   1:48.63  
Adrian Ben moments after the finish
Did I or didn't I? Right after the finish Adrián Ben is torn between hope and fear. A few moments later he would learn he had actually come first, if only by three thousandths of a second.

Korir wins Diamond League in new World lead in Zürich

The career of Emmanuel Korir has been a story of running fast at exactly the right moments. Last year he collected Olympic gold. Earlier this season he was at his best to win the World Championship. And although he lost last week in Brussels he showed his timing once more when the stakes were high at the last Diamond League meeting in Zürich .

The pace was pretty fast, but that didn't daunt Korir in the slightest. He watched from afar how the pacemaker dropped out. He made his way through the field when Jake Wightman, the man who beat him last week, went to the front. He was closer already when Marco Arop found an extra gear and seemed to take an unassailable lead.

And then Korir made his move. He went past Wightman in a flash. Then gained rapidly on the tiring Arop and passed him just a few meters before the finish. Job done, timed to perfection, Diamond League victory ensured and a new world leading time on top of that. There is little doubt now that Korir is currently the greatest 800m runner by far.

 1  Emmanuel Korir         KEN   1:43.26
 2  Marco Arop             CAN   1:43.38
 3  Jake Wightman          GBR   1:44.10
 4  Wycliffe Kinyamal      KEN   1:44.47
 5  Bryce Hoppel           USA   1:44.77
 6  Andreas Kramer         SWE   1:44.94
 7  Gabriel Tual           FRA   1:45.25
 8  Benjamin Robert        FRA   1:48.11
Korir celebrates his glorious win
Celebration time! Emmanuel Korir has just run a new world lead and wins the Diamond League. Korir is also the reigning World and Olympic Champion.

Mariano García takes European gold

While Mariano García wasn't really known for fast outdoor times, he had definitely shown his qualities earlier in the season when he won the world Indoor title. He had also made his intentions quite clear, as he wrote on social media how he would take the lead 500m out and planned to win it from there.

As it turned out this script was followed to perfection. No athlete was ready to force the pace, so García moved forward, took the lead as they approached the bell and lead the pack into the final lap after a pretty fast 52.07 seconds.

Jake Wightman, Ben Pattison and Mark English were close behind, Pattison lost ground as Eliott Crestan moved forward before falling away again. English hung on solidly to take a second bronze (he had won bronze at the 2014 EC as well) as Wightman came very close to the lead.

But in the end it wasn't quite close enough. García held on, finished in a new PB and came away with a well deserved gold. His brave decision to take the lead early had paid off.

 1  Mariano García         ESP   1:44.85 
 2  Jake Wightman          GBR   1:44.91 
 3  Mark English           IRL   1:45.19   
 4  Andreas Kramer         SWE   1:45.38     
 5  Benjamin Robert        FRA   1:45.42      
 6  Ben Pattison           GBR   1:45.63   
 7  Simone Barontini       ITA   1:45.66 
 8  Eliott Crestan         BEL   1:45.68 
'La Moto' Mariano, García was ready to run!
Get your motor running! Mariano García definitely was ready to run! After a brilliant second lap he became European Champion.

Kinyamal succesfully defends his Commonwealth title

Kinymal was perhaps the favorite on paper, but history was against him. Never before had an athlete been able to defend his Commonwealth games 800m title.

The pace was slow during the first lap, and when the field, tightly bunched, took over 55 seconds to complete the first lap it was clear that the second lap would be a lot faster. Kinyamal and Bol were in the lead, and they steadily increased the pace, creating a considerable gap between them and the six others. Into the final straight Kinyamal was stil leading Bol and although both athletes were clearly struggling none of the others could get really close.

And so Kinyamal stayed just ahead of Bol and reached the finish in delight, achieving something that had never been done before. Only one runner found something extra in the final straight. Young talent Ben Pattison had been in the rear during most of the race and found himself boxed in when he wanted to move forward. Still, he managed to outsprint all the others and claimed a creditable bronze.

 1  Wycliffe Kinyamal      KEN   1:47.52
 2  Peter Bol              AUS   1:47.66
 3  Ben Pattison           ENG   1:48.25
 4  Jamie Webb             ENG   1:48.60
 5  Navasky Anderson       JAM   1:48.75
 6  Guy Learmonth          SCO   1:48.82
 7  Alex Amankwah          GHA   1:48.95
 8  Boitumelo Masilo       BOT   1:49.35
Kinyamal, seconds after claiming his second consecutive Commonwealth gold
Tired but happy! Wycliffe Kinyamal has just won his second commonwealth 800m title. Never before had an athlete been able to win gold twice at the Commonwealth 800m.

Emmanuel Korir is the new World Champion

Emmanuel Korir emphatically won his first world title as he finished well ahead of his rivals after a strong second lap.

Marco Arop took the lead early on and held on for a full lap before Korir inexorably moved forward and took over as they came into the finishing straight. Korir looked strong and convincingly took the gold. Algerian Djamel Sejati finished fast and took the silver as Arop managed to hang on for the bronze.

Full reports of the final, semis and all the heats.

 1. Emmanuel Korir         KEN   1:43.71
 2. Djamel Sejati          ALG   1:44.14
 3. Marco Arop             CAN   1:44.28
 4. Emmanuel Wanyonyi      KEN   1:44.54
 5. Slimane Moula          ALG   1:44.85
 6. Gabriel Tual           FRA   1:45.49
 7. Peter Bol              AUS   1:45.51
 8. Wycliffe Kinyamal      KEN   1:47.07
Emmanuel Korir after his golden race
Job done! Emmanuel Korir looks well satisfied with his days work. And well he might be, because he has just added a World Championship gold to last year's Olympic Gold!