Although Nijel Amos and Kipyegon Bett were perhaps favorite to do well it was clear
from the start that everyone in this final would consider this a great chance, and so
the first lap would probably be a nervy one. And so it turned out to be. Brandon McBride
took the lead, Bett started a bit slow, but as they came together he decided he wanted
to be near the lead as well. So he forced his way forward and there was a bit of bumping
as they all tried to settle down. Thiago Andrè eventually ran next to Bett, with
Amos next to him again. Mohammed Aman ran at the curve ahead of Pierre-Ambrose Bosse, while
Kyle Langford and Adam Kszczot settled at the back.
As they came out of the first bend Amos of course ran a few extra meters and so ended
up behind Andrè, but soon decided that wasn't where he wanted to be and so he
swept past to be at the shoulder of McBride as they reached the bell in a fairly quick 50.76.
Kszczot then moved up a bit, but only as far as seventh, while at the front McBride started to
struggle and had to let Bett and Amos pass him. Then Bosse decided to act, and on the back
straight he went forward fast and as they reached the final bend he just managed to overtake
Bett and take the lead. Bosse powered on, Bett following, Amos tried to get past Bett on the
the bend, but couldn't do it.
And so they reached the final straight: Bosse, Bett, Amos, Aman all ran on the curve, none
of them able to make any ground on the man before him. But two others did run faster then
the leaders. Kszczot put in a great dash, overtaking Aman, Amos and Bett. But he couldn't
reach the Frenchman, who took a well deserved gold. Langford was still in last place as they
came into the final straight, but he quickly ran down Aman and Amos as well, and on the
line he was just a few inches short of snatching the bronze from Bett.
And so Bosse, the man who had looked so desperate in Rio after just missing out on a medal,
is the new World Champion. He had a difficult season, with injury spoiling his preparation,
and he was only just in time ready for London. He made the final as one of the two fastest
losers, having managed third place only in his semifinal. His face said it all afterwards:
Am I dreaming?. Non Monsieur, you are the new boss, you are the new World Champion.
1. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse FRA 1:44.67
2. Adam Kszczot POL 1:44.95
3. Kipyegon Bett KEN 1:45.21
4. Kyle Langford GBR 1:45.25
5. Nijel Amos BOT 1:45.83
6. Mohammed Aman ETH 1:46.06
7. Thiago Andrè BRA 1:46.30
8. Brandon McBride CAN 1:47.09
London 800m semifinal reports
Three semis with just the top two progressing plus two fastest losers.
Often these heats are run fast, but as it turned out that wasn't the case this year.
The first heat featured Nijel Amos, Ferguson Cheruiyot and Adam Kszczot. It was
Cheruiyot who was a rather reluctant leader after a bit of initial bumping, and with Kszczot
hanging back they reached the bell at a sluggish 52.98. Kszczot moved up at that point and
settled in right next to Cheruiyot and Amos with Isaiah Harris close behind. After 500m Kszczot
felt that the race was going too slow, so he accelerated to take the lead. Harris followed but
then couldn't get past Amos and so Amos was suddenly boxed in. He had to go all the way around
Harris to reach the front again. Ksszczot was away and stayed away, Amos came second but
Cheruiyot didn't appear to have the power on the final straight to catch the leaders and went out.
1. Adam Kszczot POL 1:46.24 Q
2. Nijel Amos BOT 1:46.29 Q
3. Ferguson Cheruiyot KEN 1:46.49
4. Isaiah Harris USA 1:46.66
5. Guy Learmonth GBR 1:46.75
6. Elliot Giles GBR 1:46.95
7. Abdessalem Ayouni TUN 1:47.39
8. Kevin López ESP 1:47.62
The second semi featured Brandon McBride, Marcin Lewandowski and Emmanuel Korir, many people's
pick for the gold. Dutchman Thijmen Kupers suffered a calf injury during training and so the race
lost an obvious front runner. At the start Korir went out very slow and he had to make up a lot
of ground after the first 100m. He soon settled in behind McBride who took them out in a pretty
fast 50.85. The race seemed to turn into a procession then, with McBride and Bett leaving the
others behind - Antoine Gakeme, Lewandowski and Kyle Langford had to allow a substantial gap.
Into the final straight McBride never looked back and qualified very convincingly, but Korir
suddenly wavered, and although Gakeme fell back Lewandowski gained ground quickly. Then from
nowhere Langford, encouraged by the crowd, turned in a tremendous final dash and took the second
spot into the final. Lewandowski was beaten into third and Korir, world leader and favorite,
perhaps now lacking energy that he spent so unwisely on the first lap, went out. A big shock.
1. Brandon McBride CAN 1:45.53 Q
2. Kyle Langford GBR 1:45.81 Q
3. Marcin Lewandowski POL 1:45.93
4. Emmanuel Korir KEN 1:46.08
5. Drew Windle USA 1:46.33
6. Ebrahim Alzofairi KUW 1:46.68
7. Antoine Gakeme BDI 1:47.08
- Thijmen Kupers NED DNS
In this heat Kipyegon Bett, Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, Donavan Brazier and Mohammed Aman would
appear to be the main contenders. The pace was modest, with Bett taking the lead ahead of
Aman and Bosse, with Thiago Andrè and Brazier behind them. They reached the bell after 51.51,
and for a moment it seemed as though Bett was perhaps following team orders - a slow race
would bring Korir back into the final as a fastest loser. Bett kept his pace though and on
the final bend he went away. Aman was the only one who could keep reasonably close. Bosse
had to settle for third, Andrè could do no better than fourth. For both men that was good
enough though, since this semi turned out to be the fastest one. Brazier, who was running
in fifth place all the time, gave up with 30m to go and jogged over the finish line.
1. Kipyegon Bett KEN 1:45.02 Q
2. Mohammed Aman ETH 1:45.40 Q SB
3. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse FRA 1:45.63 q
4. Thiago Andrè BRA 1:45.83 q
5. Michal Rozmys POL 1:46.10
6. Andreas Kramer SWE 1:46.25
7. Donavan Brazier USA 1:46.27
8. Álvaro de Arriba ESP 1:46.64
So, a very surprising semifinal day. A bad day for the Americans. Harris, Windle but also
Brazier went out without any of them really able to fight for their places. So far it's not
a great tournament for the Kenyans either. Rudisha injured, Saruni a non-starter, now Korir
and Cheruiyot simply seemed to lack the pace and went out as well. It's just Bett who is
flying the Kenyan flag, although he did run the fastest time in the semis.
There will be three Europeans in the final (Kszczot, Bosse and surprise package Lamgford),
but also just three Africans. Bett and Amos look strong candidates for a medal, Aman might
just be finding back his form of some years ago. Canadian McBride might well play a pivotal
role in the final - he might want to be the front runner. Brazilian Andrè is running
his first major final.
London 800m heat reports
The first round consisted of six heats, so the first three of each heat would qualify and
six further athletes would qualify for the semis on time. There had been a lot of rain
just before these races, but it had fortunately stopped as the heats started. So the track
was wet but the air was fresh.
This heat featured Kipyegon Bett and Drew Windle as favorites on paper. But it was the young Swede
Andreas Kramer who took the lead and they reached the bell in a pretty decent 51.61. On the back
straight Kramer was still leading, followed by Bett, Amine Belferar and Abdessalam Ayouni. Windle
was way back and looked out of it. Belferar unfortunately pulled up injured as they went into the
final bend. Windle was still in what seemed to be a hopeless position, but in the last 60m he madea
a dash on the inside and suddenly picked up one athlete after another, and with his final strides
he even managed to qualify automatically. Ayouni also qaalified as a fastest loser.
1. Kipyegon Bett KEN 1:45.76 Q
2. Andreas Kramer SWE 1:45.98 Q
3. Drew Windle USA 1:46.08 Q
4. Abdessalem Ayouni TUN 1:46.19 q
5. Andrés Arroyo PUR 1:46.46
6. Edose Ibadin NGR 1:46.51
7. Saud Alzaabi UAE 1:53.34
8. Pyae Sone Maung MYA 2:13.38
- Amine Belferar ALG DNF
In this heat Brandon McBride and Antoine Gakeme were favorites, with Thijmen Kupers and Kevin
López strong candidates as well. Kupers and McBride took the lead and reached the bell in
51.80. Behind them López and López were following with Gakeme locked in on the
inside. On the back straight Gakeme pushed himself forward into second position behind McBride
while Kupers lost a little ground. On the final straight however it turned out that Kupers had
paced his race well and he even ran out the winner. Gakeme was visibly tiring and Kevin López
managed to take the third qualifying spot. Langford came too late, but since this was of the
faster heats both he and Gakeme qualified as fast losers.
1. Thijmen Kupers NED 1:45.53 Q
2. Brandon McBride CAN 1:45.69 Q
3. Kevin López ESP 1:45.77 Q
4. Antoine Gakeme BDI 1:45.97 q
5. Kyle Langford GBR 1:46.38 q
6. Jesús Tonatiu López MEX 1:46.71
7. Leandro Paris ARG 1:47.09
8. Pol Moya AND 1:49.06
Ferguson Cheruiyot and Isaiah Harris looked obvious contenders in this heat. It was however Ryan
Sánchez who took the lead, although Rotich took over halfway, which was reached in 51.95.
Sánchez kept in touch, with Harris and Giles close behind the two leaders. That's how it stayed
until the final straight. Giles accelerated a little and went past and slightly in front of
Sánchez, who gave a little push and lost speed completely. So Cheruiyot, Harris and Giles
qualified well ahead of the others, but Ebrahim Alzofairi and Álvaro de Arriba both put in
a final dash and in this fast heat their efforts were not in vain as they both qualified as well.
1. Ferguson Cheruiyot KEN 1:45.77 Q
2. Isaiah Harris USA 1:45.82 Q
3. Elliot Giles GBR 1:45.86 Q
4. Ebrahim Alzofairi KUW 1:46.29 q
5. Álvaro de Arriba ESP 1:46.42 q
6. Abdelati El Guesse MAR 1:46.74
7. Ryan Sánchez PUR 1:50.74
This was the heat with Emmanuel Korir. He had to contend with Samir Dahmani, Alex Amankwah and
Thiago Andrè among others. The German Marc Reuther took the lead but the pace wasn't very fast
and the bell was reached in a modest 52.90. Reuther kept going followed by Korir and Andrè and
the positions remained unchanged until the final 60 metres. Reuther then faded and Michal Rozmys
showed some late speed, and so Korir, Rozmys and Andrè qualified from this slowish heat.
1. Emmanuel Korir KEN 1:47.08 Q
2. Michal Rozmys POL 1:47.09 Q
3. Thiago Andrè BRA 1:47.22 Q
4. Alex Amankwah GHA 1:47.56
5. Marc Reuther GER 1:47.78
6. Samir Dahmani FRA 1:48.62
7. Peter Bol AUS 1:49.65
8. Ahmed Bashir Farah ART 1:50.04
From this heat Nijel Amos should certainly qualify, while Adam Kszczot and Pierre-Ambroise Bosse
would normally expect to go through as well. Abu Salim Mayanja was a surprise leader although
the pace wasn't very fast (52.26 at 400m) with Amos and Bosse happy to follow and Kszczot hanging
at the back. On the back straight Kszczot moved forward into contention. Hamada Mohamed suddenly
pulled up with what appeared to be a serious hamstring problem. Mayanja couldn't keep up the pace
and eventually Amos, Bosse and Kszczot qualified comfortably without too much trouble.
1. Nijel Amos BOT 1:47.10 Q
2. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse FRA 1:47.25 Q
3. Adam Kszczot POL 1:47.36 Q
4. Mostafa Smaili MAR 1:47.50
5. Mark English IRL 1:48.01
6. Abu Salim Mayanja UGA 1:48.11
7. Francky Mbotto CAF 1:51.76
- Hamada Mohamed EGY DNF
In this heat the Kenyan Saruni was a non-starter. Originally he qualified from the Kenyan trials, but
since Rudisha (reigning World Champion) and Ferguson Cheruiyot (Diamond Race winner) were qualified
by right the Kenyans had to drop somebody (since there is a strange rule that a country can send four
out not five athletes). So Saruni was dropped, but reinstated when Rudisha withdrew. Despite all that
he did not start in London. A weird situation. Donavan Brazier and Marcin Lewandowski should qualify,
and Mohammmed Aman or Amel Tuka if they could find some form. Brazier took the lead and Guy Learmonth
tucked in right behind him. At 400m they clocked 51.90, a decent pace. Aman and Lewandowski worked
themselves forward but Brazier never looked back and qualified with ease. Aman showed a solid final
dash and Learmonth held on for third. Lewandowski didn't seem to have the power of a few years ago
but his time was enough for qualification. Amel Tuka though, usually capable of a fast finish,
couldn't find anything extra and so the winner of the bronze medal two years ago went out. Daniel
Andújar lunged for the line, but not only was he just too late, he was later disqualified as well.
1. Donavan Brazier USA 1:45.65 Q
2. Mohammed Aman ETH 1:45.81 Q
3. Guy Learmonth GBR 1:45.90 Q
4 Marcin Lewandowski POL 1:46.17 q
5. Amel Tuka BIH 1:46.54
6 Astrit Kryeziu KOS 1:49.94
- Daniel Andújar ESP DQ
London 800m preview
The big news, of course, is that David Rudisha will not run. His form so far this year has
been patchy, so he might not have been the favourite anyway, but the double World and Olympic
Champion is always a force to be reckoned with. We won't be seeing any Rio medal winners, since
Taoufik Makhloufi and Clayton Murphy won't run either.
Instead the results so far this season suggest we have two main favourites and quite a
few other medal candidates.
Emmanuel Korir (KEN)
He has appeared like a comet. Ever since Paul Ereng got involved his rise has been meteoric.
He has the fastest time of the year so far and won the Kenyan trials. A medal must be in his sights.
Nijel Amos (BOT)
He is second fastest this year, and won two fast races. He looked the obvious favourite until
Korirs meteoric rise. But his larger experience may make a difference in the final.
Ferguson Cheruiyot (KEN)
Winner of last years Diamond race, a steady experienced performer. He doesn't win many races though.
Donavan Brazier (USA)
Still very young, but he showed his talents in several Diamond League races. Surely a medal candidate.
Kipyegon Bett (KEN)
Another young Kenyan talent - and those can never be discounted.
Several other athletes could well make the final, but this season remarkably few athletes
have performed strongly. Only five athletes have run faster than 1:44.3, so it's difficult
to predict who is in good shape. Adam Kszczot (POL) won European indoor gold in March,
but outdoors he hasn't done much so far. His compatriot Marcin Lewandowski hasn't
impressed either. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse (FRA) just missed a medal in Rio.
He has only run a few races this season. Brandon McBride (CAN) has an extra year of
experience which could bring him further in this tournament. Americans tend to struggle in
800m World Chanmpionships, but Isaiah Harris or Drew Windle could falsify that.
Antoine Gakeme (BDI) has set a few good marks recently. Finally young Andreas Kramer
(SWE) has improved a lot over the past few months.