The top 10 athletes of 2024 so far

Impressive run by Bryce Hoppel at the US Trials

The US trials are often a minefield for favourites. So Bryce Hoppel, easily the fastest US runner this season, decided not to risk a tactical and probably unpredictable race.

Right from the start Hoppel took the lead and kept the pace fast. A first lap of 51.11 ensured that this race would be anything but tactical. Only Brandon Miller could keep in touch as Hoppel ran on relentlessly.

On the final straight Hoppel ran away easily from the others and finished in 1:42 for the first time in his career, which set a new meet record as well. Behind Donavan Brazier and Johnny Gray he is now the third fastest US athlete of all time. Miller ran out of steam but still finished third as only Hobbs Kessler managed to get past him. Hoppel, Kessler and Miller will therefore represent the USA in Paris.

 1  Bryce Hoppel        USA   1:42.77
 2  Hobbs Kessler       USA   1:43.64
 3  Brandon Miller      USA   1:43.97
 4  Josh Hoey           USA   1:44.12
 5  Jonah Koech         USA   1:44.32
 6  Shane Cohen         USA   1:44.65
 7  Clayton Murphy      USA   1:44.80
 8  Abraham Alvarado    USA   1:44.90
 9  Tinoda Matsatsa     USA   1:45.70
Bryce Hoppel at the start of the 800m final
Ready to lead. Bryce Hoppel never doubted during the US trials and led the race from start to finish. He ran a new PB and set a new meet record as well.

Emmanuel Wanyonyi shines at Kenyan trials

Emmanuel Wanyonyi is one of Kenya's brightest hopes for an Olympic medal at the middle distances. So it was a bitter disappointment when Wanyonyi seemed out of sorts during the heats of the Kenyan trials. As he was trying to reach the front he collided with another athlete just before the finish and fell. It was decided he was tripped and so Wanyonyi was reinstated into the final.

It would be an understatement to say that Wanyonyi justified that decision. Right from the start he took the lead and made sure the pace was so fast that only a few athletes were able to follow. It seemed a suicidal tactic, but Wanyonyi knew better. He did not slow down on the second lap and turned his race into a demonstration.

At the finish the clock stopped at the stunning time of 1:41.70. Only Kipketer and Rudisha have ever run faster, so it makes Wanyonyi the third fastest athlete of all time. It is also the fastest time since Rudisha's Olympic triumph in 2012, and the fastest time ever run on African soil. Only five athletes had ever broken 1:42, and Wanyonyi has now made it six.

Wycliffe Kinyamal ran a big new PB to take second. Koitatoi Kidali had never even broken 1:45, and to see such a relatively unknown athlete run so fast was another major surprise. The Kenyans are ready for Paris!

 1  Emmanuel Wanyonyi      KEN   1:41.70
 2  Wycliffe Kinyamal      KEN   1:42.50
 3  Koitatoi Kidali        KEN   1:42.66
 4  Alex Kipngetich        KEN   1:43.74
 5  Aaron Cheminingwa      KEN   1:44.51
 6  Laban Chepkwony        KEN   1:44.83
 7  Festus Lagat           KEN   1:45.16
 8  Collins Kipruto        KEN   1:45.97
 9  Nicholas Kebenei       KEN   1:46.29
10  Kelvin Loti            KEN   1:48.70
Wanyonyi reflecting on his stunning race
What a performance! Emmanuel Wanyonyi not just qualified for the Olympics. He led the race from start to finish and ran the fastest time in twelve years!

Gabriel Tual is the new European Champion

It always promised to be a very open tournament. A few title candidates stayed away, preferring preparation for the Olympics later this season. But many others felt it was a great opportunity to add silverware to their career, in a discipline where runners from Africa and America often dominate.

And so the races started with four heats, two semifinals and in almost every race it seemed there were at least six runners that might well qualify. Spain, France, Italy, Great Britain and Belgium all had three runners that looked able to go deep. But competition was stiff, and many good runners failed to make it into the final.

Eventually Spain was the only country with more than one athlete in the final. De Arriba took an early lead, Attaoui came from behind to get silver, but it was Gabriel Tual who gave France a gold medal. The home crowd were thrilled as Tecuceanu managed to score a bronze.

 1  Gabriel Tual          FRA  1:44.87
 2  Mohamed Attaoui       ESP  1:45.20
 3  Catalin Tecuceanu     ITA  1:45.40
 4  Álvaro de Arriba      ESP  1:45.64
 5  Andreas Kramer        SWE  1:45.70
 6  Adrián Ben            ESP  1:46.54
 7  Elliot Giles          GBR  1:47.06
 8  Ole Jakob Solbu       NOR  1:51.33
Gabriel Tual celebrates his European Gold medal
He did it! Gabriel Tual celebrates his European Gold medal. It's the first major international title for the Frenchman.

Full reports and results

Sedjati miles ahead in Stockholm

At the bell the 800m Diamond League race in Stockholm seemed wide open. Although Ben Pattison had a small lead (behind the pacemaker, of course) the other athletes were still bunched fairly tightly together.

On the back straight Pattison was still leading ahead of Bryce Hoppel. But then Djamel Sedjati started moving forward and quickly reached the leaders. As soon as they came into the finishing straight Sedjati sprinted away and left the others miles behind. At the line his lead was more than a full second!

With 1:43.23 Sedjati also ran a new World Lead, and he appeared to be as fresh as if he had just taken a walk in the park. With the Olympics just a few months away Sedjati must surely be a major medal candidate in Paris.

 1  Djamel Sedjati      ALG   1:43.23
 2  Bryce Hoppel        USA   1:44.29
 3  Tshepiso Masalela   BOT   1:44.44
 4  Ben Pattison        GBR   1:44.44
 5  Benjamin Robert     FRA   1:44.73
 6  Elliot Giles        GBR   1:45.10
 7  Andreas Kramer      SWE   1:45.27
 8  Jake Wightman       GBR   1:45.35
 9  Slimane Moula       ALG   1:48.02

Sedjati after his victory in Stockholm
An astonishing finish. Djamel Sedjati doesn't really seem tired after his spirited dash to the line. He left everyone well behind and set a new World Leading time in doing so.

Arop shows early form

The atmosphere was quite magical when the 800 m athletes lined up. Just as they were ready to go Armand Duplantis jumped to a new and almost unbelievable World Record of 6.24 in the pole vault. Would this inspire the athletes? The pacemaker did a good job, reaching halfway in just over 50 seconds. As expected, Marco Arop was following him closely.

As soon as the pacemaker dropped out Arop took a serious lead, and only Wycliffe Kinyamal and Tshepiso Masalela were in a position to get close. And Kinyamal did get close. He even drew level with just a few strides to go and seemed the most likely winner at that point. But Arop found something extra, and threw himself forward thus securing victory after all.

Rising star Masalela came third and can be happy with a splendid new PB, running 1"43 for the first time. And the home crowd had something to celebrate too, because Liu Dezhu ran a new Chinese Record.

 1  Marco Arop             CAN   1:43.61
 2  Wycliffe Kinyamal      KEN   1:43.66
 3  Tshepiso Masalela      BOT   1:43.88
 4  Alex Kipngetich        KEN   1:44.76
 5  Andreas Kramer         SWE   1:44.81
 6  Elias Ngeny            KEN   1:45.37
 7  Clayton Murphy         USA   1:45.38
 8  Abdellatif El Guesse   MAR   1:45.65
 9  Liu Dezhu              CHN   1:45.66
10  Ethan Hussey           GBR   1:46.20
11  Peter Bol              AUS   1:47.02
12  Mark English           IRL   1:47.14
Marco Arop happy with his victory
A fine exercise. Marco Arop is very happy but doesn't seem exceptionally tired after his win in Xiamen. His early form confirms him as one of the favourites for the Olympics later this year.

Bryce Hopple is the new World Indoor Champion

After an eventful final Bryce Hoppel, who had stayed well clear of trouble, took over the lead on the final straight from Eliott Crestan and sprinted to the gold. Behind him Andreas Kramer nudged ahead of Crestan as well. Benjamin Robert and a terribly disappointed Mariano García finished way back. Robert was later disqualified after what had been a tumultuous race.

The root of the trouble had been the two very different semfinals. One was quick, but in the other García had taken the lead, slowed the race down, then outsprinted the others. His plan might have been to do the same in the final. After all, he had also won the 2022 European Championships from the front. But Robert had decided he was not going to let that happen.

Straight from the start Robert sprinted into the lead, bumping ahead of García. The Spaniard wasn't happy with that. After one round he accelerated and took over the lead, as Robert went backward fast. Hoppel was quietly following, but then Crestan moved up, and as García was slowing down again the Belgian went around and across, and so the Spaniard took a knock once more. García had now lost a lot of energy and was fading fast as well.

Meanwhile Hoppel, who had avoided all these clashes, had saved the best for last. He finished in a new World Leading time, and after winning a bronze medal two years ago he has now added a world Indoor gold to his collection.

 1  Bryce Hoppel           USA   1:44.92
 2  Andreas Kramer         SWE   1:45.27
 3  Eliott Crestan         BEL   1:45.32
 4  Catalin Tecuceanu      ITA   1:46.39
 5  Mariano García         ESP   1:48.77
 -  Benjamin Robert        FRA   DQ (1:46.80)
Bryce Hoppel just ahead of the start
Look into the future. Bryce Hoppel seems to try to visualize how he will be running the race. A few minutes later he would be World Indoor Champion after staying out of trouble in what turned out to be a turbulent final.

Emmanuel Wanyonyi wins the Diamond League

In some seasons there is an obvious number one at the 800m. This season there were two athletes who could make a valid claim for that title. Marco Arop is World Champion, but Emmanuel Wanyonyi took silver and also ran the fastest time this year. Both were out to prove a point at the Diamond League final in Eugene.

The pace was fast, the first lap even just under 50 seconds. Arop was close behind and on the back straight seemed to run away from the field with his long strides. But Wanyonyi was timing his race well and around the final bend came much closer. It came down to a sprint finish, where Wanyonyi just edged ahead on the line, where Arop just managed to stay ahead of Djamel Sedjati, who was also finishing very fast.

All three did run a PB, and Arop and Wanyonyi also ran 1:42 for the first time in their careers. But it was Wanyonyi who finished first, setting a world leading time. And it was Wanyonyi who could march around with the Diamond shaped trophy. So he might well feel justified to call himself the 2023 king of the 800m after all.

 1  Emmanuel Wanyonyi      KEN   1:42.80
 2  Marco Arop             CAN   1:42.85
 3  Djamel Sedjati         ALG   1:43.06
 4  Yanis Meziane          FRA   1:43.94
 5  Daniel Rowden          GBR   1:44.21
 6  Bryce Hoppel           USA   1:44.63
 7  Benjamin Robert        FRA   1:45.43
 8  Saul Ordóñez           ESP   1:45.90
 9  Wycliffe Kinyamal      KEN   1:46.33
Emmanuel Wanyonyi just after the finish
A big win! Emmanuel Wanyonyi scores another important victory as he wins the Diamond League. Two recent major wins, both in World Leads, and a silver at the World Championships made 2023 to a memorable summer for the young Kenyan.

Sedjati victorious in Brussels

Djamel Sedjati certainly can't have been happy with his performance at the recent World Championships. In 2022 he came away with a silver medal. This year though he came fifth, then learned that he was disqualified for a lane infringement.

On this day in Brussels though he showed his true worth. The pacemakers went off fast, and it was young Yanis Meziane who was closest at the bell. But on lap two Sedjati moved forward fast, went past everyone and as he approached the finish he could even afford to look left and right, as he relaxed towards the finish line with a substantial lead.

It was a very convincing win, and it clearly shows that Sedjati will be a medal candidate for many years to come. Behind him Meziane impressively held on for a sub-1:44 PB. Masalela ran a PB as well.

 1  Djamel Sedjati         ALG   1:43.60
 2  Yanis Meziane          FRA   1:43.94
 3  Tshepiso Masalela      BOT   1:44.03
 4  Daniel Rowden          GBR   1:44.12
 5  Ben Pattison           GBR   1:44.32
 6  Bryce Hoppel           USA   1:44.37
 7  Wycliffe Kinyamal      KEN   1:44.38
 8  Saul Ordóñez           ESP   1:44.85
 9  Slimane Moula          ALG   1:45.80
Sedjati celebrates his Brussels victory
This time it all went perfect! Sedjati disappointingly failed to take a medal at the World Championships. But in Brussels he convincingly outsprinted the entire field.

Wanyonyi gets his revenge in Xiamen, China

A very strong field had traveled to China to contest this Diamond League meeting. Marco Arop and Emmanuel Wanyonyi were out to cement their reputation from the World Championships. Arop would also love to take Brandon McBride's Canadian record of 1:43.20. Wycliffe Kinyamal would try to prove why he still held the World Lead this year.

Arop initially followed the pacemaker, but at the bell Wanyonyi and Kinyamal took over. Arop didn't seem unhappy with that, came back to the lead, went past Kinyamal, and then got level with Wanyonyi. The pair ran side by side to the finish, with Kinyamal eventually just edging out Arop.

The race result shows it was all about hundredths of a second. Wanyonyi beat Arop by four hundredths and set a new World Lead by two hundredths. Arop beat his own PB by two hundredths but missed the Canadian record by four hundredths. The depth of the field was shown by the fact that no less than ten athletes went below 1:45 for only the fourth time in history.

 1. Emmanuel Wanyonyi    KEN  1:43.20
 2. Marco Arop           CAN  1:43.24
 3. Benjamin Robert      FRA  1:43.88
 4. Wycliffe Kinyamal    KEN  1:44.04
 5. Daniel Rowden        GBR  1:44.27
 6. Yanis Meziane        FRA  1:44.28
 7. Saúl Ordóñez         ESP  1:44.54
 8. Gabriel Tual         FRA  1:44.65
 9. Ben Pattison         GBR  1:44.87
10. Andreas Kramer       SWE  1:44.97
11. Isaiah Harris        USA  1:45.10
12. Simone Barontini     ITA  1:45.42
Marco Arop and Emmanuel Wanyonyi battling it out
What a run! Marco Arop and Emmanuel Wanyonyi had a fierce battle to the finish. Although Arop was narrowly leading for some time Wanyonyi would win by four hundredths of a second.