Tokyo 2021 800m reports
Tokyo 800m final report: Korir and Rotich secure Kenyan double success
Korir and Dobyk at the start of the 800 m
Ready for battle. Emmanuel Korir and Patryk Dobek in concentration just before the start of the final. Korir would take gold, Dobek would be more than happy with an unexpected bronze.

This final never looked likely to be fast. None of the nine finalist is known for wishing to take an early lead. So tactical awareness was always going to be a major factor rather than pure speed.

And as the race started it was pretty clear no one really wished to run at the front. The first lap was slower than any of the semifinals, with Peter Bol and Emmanuel Korir in the lead, with Ferguson Rotich, Nijel Amos close behind. Towards the bell Bol decided an acceleration was called for, so he increased the pace. The bell was taken after 53.76 - most athletes would run a negative split here. Korir, Amos, Rotich and Patryk Dobek were quick to react and were not too far behind Bol. Amel Tuka and Clayton Murphy though were right at the back. A tactical error perhaps, because it's not a good idea to give the rest of the field such a margin when the first lap is run so slowly.

Bol really stretched out the field on the back straight. Korir, Dobek and Amos were following, Adrian Ben came forward and ran alongside of Rotich. Behind them Gabiel Tual, Tuka and Murphy were struggling to gain ground. Around the bend Korir went past Bol and dashed straight for home. Bol stayed with him for the moment, Amos looked good in third, just ahead of Dobek. Ben was faltering, Rotich decided to switch to the inside and was hoping for gaps to appear.

Onto the final straight Korir was still leading ahead of Bol. Dobek drifted to the outside and Rotich thankfully came next to him on the inside. Amos was suddenly losing ground fast, his medal hopes gone. Korir was never really threatened and threw up his arms in delight as he crossed the line. At just 50 metres before the finish Bol had given all he had and could no longer hang on. Rotich and Dobek went past, but Rotich had the faster finish and went past Dobek to claim silver and make it a Kenyan 1-2. Dobek scored a bronze medal - an astounding result considering this is his first season as an 800 m runner. Amos and Murphy both looked desperately disappointed as they finished right at the back of the field.

 1. Emmanuel Korir           KEN  1:45.06
 2. Ferguson Rotich          KEN  1:45.23
 3. Patryk Dobek             POL  1:45.39
 4. Peter Bol                AUS  1:45.92
 5. Adrian Ben               ESP  1:45.96
 6. Amel Tuka                BIH  1:45.98
 7. Gabriel Tual             FRA  1:46.03
 8. Nijel Amos               BOT  1:46.41
 9. Clayton Murphy           USA  1:46.53

Tokyo 800m semifinal reports

Three semis with just the top two progressing plus two fastest losers. Previous championships have shown some of these races may be run at a frantic pace - that didn't quite happen this year, but there was plenty of drama.

  • Semifinal 1
    Not the hardest semi, on paper at least. Korir was a strong favorite, Hoppel, Dobek and López would appear to be the main candidates for the second spot. The initial pace was modest - Hoppel and Crestan were leading ahead of Korir, Hunter was pushed forward and used the momentum to get close to the leaders and so they reached halfway in 52.12. Hoppel kept the lead but as Hunter went backward Crestan attacked and lead them into the final bend. Korir accelerated, López came all the way around and Dobek moved closer on the inside. Crestan couldn't hold on to the lead and four runners came level with him. With just a few seconds to go Dobek, Crestan, Hoppel, Korir and López were running side by side. Dobek found a little bit extra and took the win. López appeared to edge out Korir, who somehow still managed to outlean the Mexican to qualify for the final. Crestan scored a PB, and Ayouni even managed a National Record, but as the other semis were faster only Dobek and Korir went through to the final.
     1. Patryk Dobek             POL  1:44.60 Q  
     2. Emmanuel Korir           KEN  1:44.74 Q  
     3. Jesus López              MEX  1:44.77
     4. Eliott Crestan           BEL  1:44.84
     5. Bryce Hoppel             USA  1:44.91
     6. Abdessalem Ayouni        TUN  1:44.99
     7. Charles Hunter           AUS  1:46.73
     8. Abdellatif El Guesse     MAR  1:46.85
  • Semifinal 2
    As expected Arop took the lead early, and set a tough pace. The field was well strung out at the bell, Arop leading in 50.94 ahead of Bol, Tual, Saruni, Murphy, Rowden, Borkowski and Ben. At the back straight Bol was trying to take the lead but Arop held him off. Saruni and Murphy were working their way forward. At the back Borkowski had to let go and Ben moved up one place. Into the final straight and a lot of runners were still tight together. Bol was this time going past Arop. Saruni decided to take the outside as Murphy gambled on the inside. Bol had a free run, Tual went past the tiring Arop and Murphy had just enough room to squeeze between the two to move into second place. Rowden seemed to have quite a bit of pace left, but could not get around Arop in time to fight for the top places. On the outside Ben had come from nowhere and nudged just past Saruni to grab fourth place. That proved to be an important one, because it was this race that provided the two fastest losers. Therefore four runners from this race went to the final.
     1. Peter Bol                AUS  1:44.11 Q  
     2. Clayton Murphy           USA  1:44.18 Q  
     3. Gabriel Tual             FRA  1:44.28 q  
     4. Adrian Ben               ESP  1:44.30 q  
     5. Daniel Rowden            GBR  1:44.35
     6. Michael Saruni           KEN  1:44.54
     7. Marco Arop               CAN  1:44.90
     8. Mateusz Borkowski        POL  1:46.54
  • Semifinal 3
    On paper this was definitely the hardest semi to qualify from. Rotich, Amos and Tuka have all won global medals. And so had Bosse, although he didn't seem to have that speed this year. Giles found himself in the lead, with Tuka, Amos and Jewett following, while Rotich was holding himself back for the moment. They reached 400 after 51.43, faster than the first semifinal, but not as fast as the second. Into the final bend Rotich moved forward with huge strides, but as he was passing Amos there was a slight collision between Jewett and Amos and both went down!
    Rotich moved forward, and looked mighty impressive. Tuka came second as he managed to pass Giles, who wasn't fast enough to qualify on time.
    Jewett and Amos got up slowly. The two seemed united in tragedy, shook hands and finally jogged to the finish side by side, smiling ruefully. The fastest man in the world this year, Nijel Amos, back after so many injuries, was not to run in the Olympic final. But the story didn't end there. The jury eventually put the blame on a slight misstep by Jewett and reinstated Amos into the final!
     1. Ferguson Rotich          KEN  1:44.04 Q  
     2. Amel Tuka                BIH  1:44.53 Q  
     3. Elliot Giles             GBR  1:44.74
     4. Nabil Oussama            MAR  1:46.42
     5. Jeff Riseley             AUS  1:47.17
     6. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse    FRA  1:48.62
     7. Isaiah Jewett            USA  2:38.12
     8. Nijel Amos               BOT  2:38.49 q

Tokyo 800m heat reports

Six heats were scheduled, so the first three of each heat would qualify and an additional six would make it to the semis on time. With six places available for fastest losers it was to be expected one or two heats would be fast. Notable absentees compared to earlier years were of course reigning Olympic Champion David Rudisha (seems retired), but also World Champion Donavan Brazier (did not qualify) and reigning European Champion Adam Kszcot.

  • Heat 1
    This heat featured Ferguson Rotich, Elliot Giles and Peter Bol, but it was Iasaiah Jewett who took the lead and with Bol and Giles following made it to the bell in 51.65. He kept his pace quite well until the final bend when in particular Rotich looked really strong and went past everyone to take the win in a very fast 1:43.75. Bol and Giles qualified as well, and Bol even ran a new Australian record. Since this turned out to be the fastest heat by a long stretch Abdellatif El Guesse and Jewett made it through as fastest losers as well.
     1. Ferguson Rotich          KEN  1:43.75 Q  
     2. Peter Bol                AUS  1:44.13 Q  
     3. Elliot Giles             GBR  1:44.49 Q  
     4. Abdellatif El Guesse     MAR  1:44.84 q  
     5. Isaiah Jewett            USA  1:45.07 q  
     6. Tony van Diepen          NED  1:46.03
     7. Pol Moya Betriu          AND  1:47.44
     8. Musa Hajdari             KOS  1:48.96
  • Heat 2
    Marco Arop and Amel Tuka were the most renowned runners in this heat. Both Arop and Andreas Kramer like to run at the front, so it was no surprise that Arop and Kramer were leading at the bell in 51.59. Arop simply kept his pace throughout, but Kramer faded towards the end and Tuka and Gabriel Tual worked their way past him to qualify for the semis.
     1. Marco Arop               CAN  1:45.26 Q  
     2. Amel Tuka                BIH  1:45.48 Q  
     3. Gabriel Tual             FRA  1:45.63 Q  
     4. Pablo Sánchez-Valladares ESP  1:46.06
     5. Andreas Kramer           SWE  1:46.44
     6. Oliver Dustin            GBR  1:46.94
     7. Alex Beddoes             COK  1:47.26
     8. Francky Mbotto           CAF  1:48.26
  • Heat 3
    This heat featured Clayton Murphy and Brndon McBride as favorites. Halfway through the first lap Chiengjiek unluckily clipped another runner and fell quite heavily. McBride took the lead and reached the bell in a moderate 52.52. The group stayed really close together and bunched up until the final straight, when Murphy weaved his way to the front while McBride faded badly and finished well out of the qualification spots. Daniel Rowden and Abdessalem Ayouni took second and third. Charles Hunter was just fast enough to qualify as well.
     1. Clayton Murphy           USA  1:45.53 Q  
     2. Daniel Rowden            GBR  1:45.73 Q  
     3. Abdessalem Ayouni        TUN  1:45.73 Q  
     4. Charles Hunter           AUS  1:45.91 q  
     5. Saul Ordóñez             ESP  1:45.98
     6. Brandon McBride          CAN  1:46.32
     7. Melese Nberet            ETH  1:47.80
     8. James Nyang Chiengjiek   SSD  2:02.04
  • Heat 4
    Nijel Amos was the obvious favourite here, but Michael Saruni should qualify as well. It was former World Champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse who took the lead, followed by Adrian Ben and Amos. After 400m they clocked 52.13. ON the back straight Saruni closed in, but it wasn't until the final straight that the positions really changed. Amos eased into the lead and looked in excellent shape as he jogged to the win. Saruni and Ben fnished safely in the top three. Jeff Riseley and Nabil Oussama sprinted past Bosse, but since this was a fairly fast heat the top six all qualified. Although it turned out Bosse eventually was just one hundredth of a second ahead of the next fastest loser.
     1. Nijel Amos               BOT  1:45.04 Q  
     2. Michael Saruni           KEN  1:45.21 Q  
     3. Adrian Ben               ESP  1:45.30 Q  
     4. Jeff Riseley             AUS  1:45.41 q  
     5. Nabil Oussama            MAR  1:45.64 q  
     6. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse    FRA  1:45.97 q  
     7. Ryan Sanchez             PUR  1:47.07
     8. Thiago André             BRA  1:47.75
  • Heat 5
    In this heat without clear favorites no one really wanted to set the pace. Bunched up as they were Dennick Luke tripped and was out of the race. Patryk Dobek found himself in the lead, but at the bell they clocked a modest 53.37, so it was clear just three would qualify. The pack stayed close until the final straight when Jesus López and Elliott Crestan moved up to qualify. Dobek seemed to be out of it, but suddenly found an extra gear and hung on for third.
     1. Jesus López              MEX  1:46.14 Q  
     2. Eliott Crestan           BEL  1:46.19 Q  
     3. Patryk Dobek             POL  1:46.59 Q  
     4. Mark English             IRL  1:46.75
     5. Benjamin Robert          FRA  1:47.12
     6. Eric Nzikwinkunda        BDI  1:47.97
     7. Andrés Arroyo            PUR  1:53.09
     8. Dennick Luke             DMA  1:54.30
  • Heat 6
    In this heat former World Championship medallist Ayanleh Souleyman did not start, which made the task for the main favorites Emmanuel Korir and Bryce Hoppel a bit easier. Both qualified, together with Mateusz Borkowski.
     1. Emmanuel Korir           KEN  1:45.33 Q  
     2. Mateusz Borkowski        POL  1:45.34 Q  
     3. Bryce Hoppel             USA  1:45.64 Q  
     4. Mostafa Smaili           MAR  1:46.05
     5. Yassine Hathat           ALG  1:46.20
     6. Abubaker Haydar Abdalla  QAT  1:47.45
     7. Wesley Vázquez           PUR  1:49.06