© Copyright – 2017 – Athletics Illustrated
The men’s 800-metre final taking place on day five of competition at the 2017 London IAAF World Track and Field Championships should be one of, if not, the most closely contested events of the meet.
Eight athletes qualified in three semi-final heats. The first two in each heat were automatic qualifiers to make it a field of six athletes, then the next two fastest overall were added.
Eight evenly matched men will toe-the-line at 21:35 local time. In that race, any of the athletes can win or medal. It will all come down to split second judgments combined with the tactics that work best for a specific athlete. It will likely, as often happens, come down to the final 200-metres and who slows down the least or can manage to unleash the best kick In the field, combined with smart positioning.
For the athletes, it all happens so fast.
The first lap could be run as fast as 50 seconds or 55, the final 200 could unravel in 25 or 30 seconds.
Canada’s Brandon McBride (1:43.95 pb) ran the first lap of the semi-final faster than anyone else on the day, in 50.85 seconds. Poland’s Adam Kszczot had the fastest second half with a 52.88. Will he have that kick if McBride takes matters into his own hands? And will it matter?
Nigel Amos of Botswana earned a silver medal during the 2012 London Olympic Games with his stunning 1:41.73 performance. There are only two athletes in history faster than him, the great Kenyans Wilson Kipketer (1:41.11) and David Rudisha (1:40.91 WR). Amos didn’t have any of that speed in Rio, but at age 22, it couldn’t have simply disappeared on him.
He ran the semis with splits of 53.28 and 53.01 for a finish time of 1:46.29 – fast enough to qualify for the final and nothing more. He finished second to Kszczot (1:46.24) and just ahead of Ferguson Rotich of Kenya, with his 1:46.49.
Amos is likely back and ready to win with nearly any sort of tactics as he ran a negative split – he is likely capable of sub-1:43 on Wednesday.
Kyle Langford of Great Britain is two years younger and ran a new personal best during the semis. He may have worked harder than most of the others just to qualify, which may mean he is out of his element here.
Nineteen-year-old Kipyegon Bett of Kenya is an unknown entity. His personal best is 1:43.76.
Amos’s primary competition will likely come from Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia, who won gold during the Moscow world championships from 2013. He has run under 1:43 on several occasions. He also owns two indoor world championships gold. He is a feisty competitor and may push for a very difficult final quarter.
Athletics Illustrated is predicting Nigel Amos to win in 1:44.00:
|Predicted finish order||Time|
|Order of finish time in semis|