Beijing 2015 800 m reports and preview

[Final report]   [Semifinal reports]   [Heat reports]   [Preview]  

Beijing 2015 800 m final report
Rudisha World Champion once more
David Rudisha holds his arms aloft in triumph. He has regained his World Championship title. Leading from start to finish he never came under any real threat.

In retrospect the deciding moment of 2015's World Championship may have been two days before the final. When Nijel Amos misjudged his semifinal race and failed to qualify for the final that had big implications. Rudisha was well aware that the young Botswana athlete had consistently outpaced him on the final straight. But with Amos out that threat was gone - and Rudisha took full advantage. He took the lead, gradually accelerated, allowed no one to pass him and became World Champion - it was all as simple as that.

None of the other athletes appeared to have a race plan ready to alter that course of events. Surely they must have realized that allowing him to run from the front would play right into his hands. But such is Rudisha's stature that nobody dared to challenge him for the lead. Even when the first 200 metres were run at a sedate pace everybody was happy to follow Rudisha's lead. And they reached 400 m in 54.15 with Rudisha still leading, Cheruiyot at his shoulder and all the others following in a tight bunch with Tuka as expected in last position,

Predictably Rudisha went faster and faster from that point. On the back straight the final had its most exciting moment when Kszczot felt he had an opportunity to pass Rudisha on the inside, but the Olympic Champion reacted immediately and shifted to another gear. Kszczot was able to follow, Cheruiyot was in third position and Tuka had improved to fourth. On the final straight Rudisha ran majestically and his win was never in any doubt. Kszczot was able to stay a few metres behind him but never came closer. Tuka couldn't produce one of his devastating sprints but did manage to edge out Cheruiyot for the bronze, thus earning Bosnia-Herzegovina their first ever World Championships medal.

I wasn't interested in a fast time today, I was just looking for the win Rudisha said after the race. And yes, after last year he had had his doubts whether he would be able to reach world class level again. And the happy smile on his face said it all - he may have been away for a few years but as of this race the king is definitely back.

 1. David Rudisha             KEN 1:45.84
 2. Adam Kszczot              POL 1:46.08
 3. Amel Tuka                 BIH 1:46.30
 4. Ferguson Rotich Cheruiyot KEN 1:46.35
 5. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse     FRA 1:46.63
 6. Musaeb Abdulrahman Balla  QAT 1:47.01
 7. Nader Belhanbel           MAR 1:47.09
 8. Alfred Kipketer           KEN 1:47.66

Note: Retesting in 2017 revealed Belhanbel had used a banned substance; he was subsequently removed from the final result

Beijing 800 m semifinal reports

Three semifinals, so only the first two would qualify by right and two fastest losers would also go through.

And so the semifinals brought some major shocks. Both Nijel Amos and Mohammed Aman had trouble judging their efforts - both let themselves be boxed in and paid the price. Rudisha, Kszczot and Cheruiyot all kept out of trouble and qualified from the front. Tuka used his trademark even pace to qualify convincingly. Those four appear to be the major candidates to do well in the final.

Beijing 800 m heat reports

Six heats with around seven runners in each heat. The first three would qualify automatically for one of the three semifinals, with six further athletes qualifying on time.

Beijing 800 m preview

In recent World Championships quite a few favourites were missing through injury. This year though almost every athlete that one would expect to see is actually on the starting list, with just two exceptions. Ayanleh Souleiman (bronze medallist two years ago) is running the 1500 m. But the real absentee is Nick Symmonds, winner of the silver medal in Moscow. Symmonds has refused to sign the necessary documents after a serious conflict with the American federation. Symmonds felt they asked too much from him and gave too little in return - you can find the story here. It's sad that such a great athlete will not be able to run.

There is no clear favourite this year. Many athletes look contenders for a medal though.

A few other athletes will be worth keeping an eye on. Alfred Kipketer is a young Kenyan talent, but he must make sure he doesn't start too fast or spend too much energy in the heats. Marcin Lewandowski is a very experienced Polish runner and a former European Champion as well. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse (FRA) can run very fast but must resist leading from the front all the time. And Antoine Gakeme (BDI) has improved himself recently and could be a dangerous outsider.

For most others though reaching the final will be a pleasant surprise. Mark Englsh (IRL), Andreas Bube (DEN) and Abdulrahman Balla (QAT) are among those who could do it. With Symmonds out (and new talent Boris Berian missing selection) the USA can only hope for a finalist - neither Cas Loxsom, Erik Sowinski or Clayton Murphy look more than an outside bet. The hopes of Great Britain rest with Michael Rimmer and Kyle Langford - can they reach the final just like Osagie did in 2012? Finally any of Giordano Benedetti (ITA), Artur Kuciapski (POL), Jeff Riseley (AUS), Nader Belhanbel (MAR) or Thijmen Kupers (NED) could surpass most people's expectations.