2012 Olympic Track & Field 800 Semifinals: American Nick Symmonds and Duane Solomon Advance To The Final
August 7, 2012
The notorious difficult 800 semifinals didn't result any major casualties as the five fastest men on the year and six of the top seven will all be competing in Thursday's final. Included in the last were the two Americans in the semis, Nick Symmonds and Duane Solomon, who got into the final by finishing in third in their races and getting in as the two "lucky losers" as only the top two in each heat were guaranteed entry into the final.
Heat 1: Abubaker Kaki and Nijel Amos Go 1-2
There were a lot of doubts surrounding 2011 World silver medallist Abubaker Kaki coming into the Olympics but he looked once again on Tuesday as he easily qualified automatically for the final as he and 18-year old Nijel Amos, the 2012 World junior champion from Botswana, were clearly the class of this heat.
Kaki went to front at the start. At 200 Amos was in second after cutting off 19-year old Timothy Chemut of Kenya to get into second just before the 200 meter mark.
Kaki stayed in front through 400 (51.01) and 600 (1:17.88) when the real racing began. On the final turn, Poland's Adam Kszczot, who had finished 6th at Worlds last year, made a big move towards the front and pulled up next to Amos with about 125 meters remaining. But Amos found another gear and he and Kaki soon separated themselves from everyone else. Kaki and Amos were well clear of everyone else but they fought each other for the win all the way to the line. Amost got ahead on the outside before Kaki came back and got the heat unnecessary heat win in 1:44.51 to Amos' 1:44.54, unnecessary in terms of qualification purposes but maybe it was necessary for Kaki's confidence.
Chemut would end up third in 1:45.34 and Chemut fourth in 1:45.63 but neither would get in on time.
Quick Take (QT) #1: Shortly after crossing the finish line, Kaki put up his index finger and shook it back and forth sort of saying, "Don't count me out." See the pic below.
|1||4||2967||Abubaker Kaki||SUD||1:44.51 Q||.|
|2||7||1211||Nijel Amos||BOT||1:44.54 Q||.|
|6||8||1624||Luis Alberto Marco||ESP||1:46.19||.|
Heat 2: Rudisha Wins As Symmonds Advances on Time
By 200, world record holder David Rudisha had the lead as expected as American Nick Symmonds was in sixth. Symmonds then started to move up and when Kaki got to 400 (51.30), Symmonds was in third. At 400, 2004 Olympic champ Yuriy Borzakovskiy who in the past was known for coming from way behind, actually had the lead by the slimmest of margins but once he came up, Rudisha accelerated and led the rest of the race.
Things stretched out on the backstretch as Rudisha hit 600 in 1:17.81. At the runners hit the homestretch, Symmonds and Borzakoviskiy were side by side battling for the final auto spot as Rudisha wasn't going to be challenged as he'd win in 1:44.35. Symmonds would get by Borzakoviskiy but a fast closing Andrew Osiage of Great Britain, who was 5th at 200 would come on hard to get the second and last auto qualifying spot in 1:45.74.
Symmonds ran hard all the way through the line as he knew every hundredth of a second might be important. In the end, he'd make the final as the fastest non-auto qualifier at 1:44.87 (the fastest non-qualifier was 1:45.08).
QT #1: Symmonds won't care that he had to get in by time. He was talking at the Olympic Trials about how you have to get a little bit lucky to make the final in the 800.
QT #2: Spain's Kevin Lopez, who came in to the Olympics seeded sixth at 1:43.74, was the highest seed not to make the final
QT #3: The way Osiage ran this race reminds us of how Symmonds used to run. Osiage has little pressure or expectations so he can hang back and let it come to him late whereas Symmonds has recently been trying to run closer to the front. Maybe Symmonds best bet for a top three in the final is for him to return to his old ways. He was incredibly happy when he realized he was going to finish second as shown below:
|1||7||2319||David Lekuta Rudisha||KEN||1:44.35 Q||.|
|2||8||1827||Andrew Osagie||GBR||1:44.74 Q||.|
|7||2||2754||Musaeb Abdulrahman Balla||QAT||1:47.52||.|
|600m||2319||David Lekuta Rudisha||KEN||1:17.81|
Heat 3: Aman Gets The Fastest Time Of The Day As Solomon Get Through
American Duane Solomon took the lead early in this race but it seemed as if the was purposely trying to make sure he didn't burn it too hot in the first lap as he'd gone out in 50.36 in the first round but come home in 55.69. Today he hit 400 in 1:17.82 as he was followed 18-year old Ethiopian Mohammed Aman, who is of course the only man to have beaten Rudisha in the last two years. Solomon had the lead until the homestretch when Aman and Kenya's 17-year old Timothy Kitum both passed him. Aman got a comfortable win in 1:44.34 with Kitum second in 1:44.63. Solomon was clearly tiring but he did a good job of holding it together and finishing third in 1:44.93, which would be good enough to get him into the final as the last time qualifier.
QT #1: Aman's time was the fastest of the night - .01 faster than Rudisha's.
|1||5||1678||Mohammed Aman||ETH||1:44.34 Q||.|
|2||6||2306||Timothy Kitum||KEN||1:44.63 Q||.|
|3||4||3252||Duane Solomon||USA||1:44.93 q||.|
|6||9||1634||Antonio Manuel Reina||ESP||1:45.84||.|
|8||3||2375||Abdulaziz Ladan Mohammed||KSA||1:48.98||.|
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