Beijing 2015 800 m reports and preview
Beijing 2015 800 m final report
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.
- Semifinal 1
Kszczot started fast, but may have been a bit surprised to find himself in the
lead after 200 metres. He kept a decent pace though, passing 400 after 52.35,
ahead of Kupers, Aman and Kipketer. On the back straight Kszczot just ran on
steadily which prompted Kupers to attack and try to go for the lead. Kszczot
responded, accelerated, and Kupers could not go with him. Kipketer attacked
on the outside, Aman also wanted to move forward, tried to go inside of Kupers
where there simply was no room and bumped into the Dutchman. Aman stumbled,
lost a lot of speed and ground and had to claw his way back into the race.
Meanwhile Bosse had passed as well and challenged Ksczot and Kipketer for the
lead. Kszczot hung on desperately, Kipketer ran wildly, Bosse sprinted and
Aman ran his heart out and at the finish four renners finished virtually level.
The photo showed that Kszczot and Kipketer qualified automatically, while Aman
and Bosse had to wait and see if their times would be fast enough. That
eventually proved to be the case. But more drama was to follow - Aman was deemed
to have impeded another runner (Kupers) and was therefore disqualified. He will
be very disappointed to be unable to defend his world title in the final.
1. Adam Kszczot POL 1:44.97 Q
2. Alfred Kipketer KEN 1:44.99 Q
3. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse FRA 1:45.02 q
4. Kevin López ESP 1:45.84
5. Amine El Manaoui MAR 1:46.09
6. Clayton Murphy USA 1:46.28
7. Thijmen Kupers NED 1:47.74
- Mohammed Aman ETH DQ (1:45.01)
- Semifinal 2
Would Rudisha be able to finish ahead of his bogey man - Nijel Amos? Rudisha
only knows one way to run and took the lead. Rotich for a moment appeared to
challenge him for the lead, apparently had second thoughts and settled in
behind him. The pace was moderate, 54.04 at the bell, which immediately made
it clear only two would qualify. Amos looked to be in a good position, but
didn't pay attention for a few seconds and when Tolokonnikov moved quickly
forward on the back straight he went past Amos. Amos had to go around again,
and lost a few vital metres. Meanwhile Rudisha accelerated, Rotich and Balla
hung on and Amos desperately fought himself back into contention. He managed to
pass the fading Rotich, then came level with Balla, but in the last two metres
had to give in to a final effort from Balla. And so Rudisha qualified relatively
comfortably but one of his main rivals, Nijel Amos, went out. A major shock.
1. David Rudisha KEN 1:47.70 Q
2. Musaeb Abdulrahman Balla QAT 1:47.93 Q
3. Nijel Amos BOT 1:47.96
4. Konstantin Tolokonnikov RUS 1:48.32
5. Abraham Rotich BRN 1:48.61
6. Ali Al-Deraan KSA 1:48.71
7. Antoine Gakeme BDI 1:48.86
- Jeffrey Riseley AUS DNS
- Semifinal 3
Cheruiyot started quickly and took the lead while Tuka settled in near the back
of the field, as he usually does. Although Cheruiyot has a deceptively easy
style he still ran pretty hard and reached halfway in 52.01 turning this into
the fastest semi of the three. Going into the back straight Tuka slowly worked
his way forward. As Cheruiyot wound up the pace the field stretched and only
Lewandowski stayed with the Kenyan while Tuka kept moving forward. On the final
straight Tuka found yet another gear and made sure of qualifying. Belhanbel put
in a late effort and finished third ahead of Lewandowski. That appeared to be
of little consequence at that moment, until it transpired shortly afterwards that
Aman had been disqualified from the first semifinal. Belhanbel must have been
pleasantly surprised when his time was suddenly qood enough to make the final.
1. Amel Tuka BIH 1:44.84 Q
2. Ferguson Rotich Cheruiyot KEN 1:44.85 Q
3. Nader Belhanbel MAR 1:45.28 q
4. Marcin Lewandowski POL 1:45.34
5. Mark English IRL 1:45.55
6. Rafith Rodríguez COL 1:45.63
7. Erik Sowinski USA 1:47.16
8. Jena Umar ETH 1:48.68
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
- Heat 1
Both Amos and Gakeme hung well back during the first lap and left it to the others
to make any sort of decent pace. Loxsom was a reluctant leader and they reached
halfway in a pedestrian 54.70. On the back straight Amos and Gakeme moved forward,
and the only one who could respond was Al-Deraan. Schembera put in a lot of effort
to get into a fastest loser position, but, as it turned out, in vain.
1. Nijel Amos BOT 1:47.23 Q
2. Antoine Gakeme BDI 1:47.67 Q
3. Ali Al-Deraan KSA 1:47.65 Q
4. Robin Schembera GER 1:48.04
5. Joshua Ralph AUS 1:48.90
6. Casimir Loxsom USA 1:48.97
7. Khalid Benmahdi ALG 1:49.61
- Heat 2
Benedetti, Murphy and Repcik were early leaders, but although they ran in single
file the pace was not particularly fast and they reached the bell after 54.14.
From there on Aman and Bosse moved forward, but Benedetti and Repcik hung on for
a long time and it wasn't until the last 50 metres that Aman and Bosse managed to
pass them. Murphy, had seemingly run out of gas a bit earlier, but it turned out
to be a clever ploy and he just outsprinted both Repcik and Benedetti to grab the
third qualifying spot.
1. Mohammed Aman ETH 1:47.87 Q
2. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse FRA 1:47.89 Q
3. Clayton Murphy USA 1:48.08 Q
4. Giordano Benedetti ITA 1:48.15
5. Jozef Repcik SVK 1:48.26
6. Jamal Haraine QAT 1:48.96
7. Kyle Langford GBR 1:49.78
- Heat 3
Rodríguez, followed by Sowinski and English, took care of a decent pace in this
heat, while Tuka, fastest man this year, was happy to stay at the back. The first
lap went in 52.52, considerably faster than the first two heats. Tuka left his
efforts late but on the final straight looked very easy as he secured the win.
Belhanbel sneaked though on the inside while Rodríguez hung on for third. But
Sowinski and English had done just enough to qualify as fastest losers as well.
1. Amel Tuka BHI 1:46.12 Q
2. Nader Belhanbel MAR 1:46.23 Q
3. Rafith Rodríguez COL 1:46.39 Q
4. Erik Sowinski USA 1:46.63 q
5. Mark English IRL 1:46.69 q
6. Zan Rudolf SLO 1:47.24
- Heat 4
Kupers had obviously decided that only a fast pace could save him - and he took
the lead, ran away from the field and reached the bell after 51.86, making this easily
the fastest heat. He didn't yield his leading position until the final straight, but
then Cheruiyot and Lewandowski seemed to stamp their authority on the race. El Manaoui
and López found a bit extra though, and Tolokonnikov sprinted to the line, while
Lewandowski seemed either surprised or tired - he only finished fifth. Since this was
the fastest heat he still managed to qualify though, and even Kupers, finishing sixth,
was rewarded for his audacious approach with a place in the semis.
1. Ferguson Rotich Cheruiyot KEN 1:45.83 Q
2. Amine El Manaoui MAR 1:45.86 Q
3. Kevin López ESP 1:46.06 Q
4. Konstantin Tolokonnikov RUS 1:46.07 q
5. Marcin Lewandowski POL 1:46.25 q
6. Thijmen Kupers NED 1:46.70 q
7. Musa Hajdari KOS 1:47.70
8. Brice Etes MON 1:48.52
- Heat 5
Umar took the lead and Kszczot was happy to settle in behind him while Kipketer
was at the back of the pack. Umar reached halfway in 52.62, a pretty decent pace.
Almgren and Kipketer moved forward and for a brief moment Kszczot looked in a bit
of trouble, but on the final straight he moved outside and outpaced everyone.
Almgren went backward rapidly, but Kipketer worked hard and hung on for second spot.
Riseley came from the back and sneaked into third place. Umar was rewarded with
the sixth and last qualifying fastest loser time.
1. Adam Kszczot POL 1:46.62 Q
2. Alfred Kipketer KEN 1:46.67 Q
3. Jeffrey Riseley AUS 1:46.79 Q
4. Jena Umar ETH 1:47.03 q
5. Abdelati El Guesse MAR 1:47.79
6. Andreas Almgren SWE 1:48.06
7. Reinhardt van Rensburg RSA 1:48.61
- Heat 6
Rudisha took the lead at his leisure - and the respect for the great man is
so immense that no other athlete ventured to challenge him. That meant that
the first lap took all of 55.63, and therefore nobody but the first three
would qualify. Rudisha accelerated gradually, Rotich and Balla settled in
behind him. Rimmer fought hard but just failed to get into the top three.
But the others will be very disappointed with their race as they never
really gave themselves a chance to qualify.
1. David Rudisha KEN 1:48.31 Q
2. Abraham Rotich BRN 1:48.42 Q
3. Musaeb Abdulrahman Balla QAT 1:48.59 Q
4. Michael Rimmer GBR 1:48.78
5. Andreas Bube DEN 1:48.94
6. Artur Kuciapski POL 1:49.22
7. Cleiton Abrão BRA 1:49.79
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.
- Mohamed Aman (ETH)
Reigning World Champion he still is, but his season has had ups and downs. Quite a few downs, really,
and in several races he finished way down the field. It will be a minor surprise if he can defend his title.
- David Rudisha (KEN)
Olympic Champion, World record holder, he must be one of the favourites. And yet even he cannot have
travelled in total confidence - because he has won precious few of his last few races.
- Nijel Amos (BOT)
Fastest man of 2014, and also the man who keeps beating Rudisha. Ever since the Olympic final he has never
lost to Rudisha. On the other hand he did score quite a few wins, one of them at last year's Commonwealth Games.
- Amel Tuka (BIH)
Suddenly last month someone managed to beat Amos and even run the fastest time of the year. Was that a
fluke or can he reproduce that sort of running over three rounds?
- Ferguson Rotich Cheruiyot (KEN)
Winner of the Kenyan trials, which takes some doing. He usually runs slow in the first round and then makes
up lots of ground in the second. But racing like that requires perfect timing and on many occasions he
left his efforts too late to challenge for the win. If he can get it right he could be a major contender.
- Adam Kszczot (POL)
European Champion, twice European Indoor Champion, Kszczot is a man used to winning. On a good day he
can outsprint almost everyone, so he will certainly be looking for a medal at least.
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.