May 9, 2014
Oh baby, what a race.
Ever since the end of the 2012 season when Botswana’s 18-year-old phenom Nijel Amos ran 1:41.73 at the Olympics to grab silver and Ethiopia’s fellow 18-year-old phenom Mo Aman beat Rudisha soon after Rudisha had set the world record at the Olympics, track and field fans have been speculating how the two young stars would stack up against each other and Rudisha as they mature.
With Amos out for much of last year, the wait for an in-form Amos versus an in-form Aman took longer than expected but it proved to be more than worth it today when Amos and Aman clashed at the 2014 IAAF Doha Diamond League track and field meeting.
At the end of a scintillating battle between the two 20-year old phenoms, Ethiopia’s 2013 World Outdoor and 2014 World Indoor champion Aman found just enough to outlast Amos to capture the men’s 800 in 1:44.59 to 1:44.54. Kenyans Ferguson Cheruiyot and Job Kinyor also broke 1:45 to grab third (1:44.82) and fourth (1:44.95) but let there be no doubt, this race over the final 100 was all about the sensational battle between Amos and Aman. American Brandon Johnson was never a factor and finished last in 1:47.59.
Amos was right behind Aman for most of the race. When the rabbit, who ran way ahead of the field through 400 in 50.86 (we’d estimate Aman his 400 in 51.7-8), departed, it was Cheruiyot who had the lead. Heading into the last 200, Cheruiyot did a great job of accelerating to prevent Aman from taking the lead heading into the final turn. Aman tucked in behind Cheruiyot and then jumped outside as they came off the final turn. Amos himself was moving up on the turn and he too went wide. 90 meters from glory, the three Cheruiyot, Aman and Amos were side by side. As Aman passed Cheruiyot, Amos in lane 2 passed Aman and Amos had the lead but these two were never separated by anything but the smallest of margins all the way home.
Aman tried to come back on Amos but as he pulled up even with Amos, Amos responded and dug even deeper. Amos lost his balance and staggered out nearly into lane three but regained the lead and seemed to be on his way to victory but Aman wasn’t done yet. He kept driving and got the lead just before the finish.
1 Aman , Mohammed ETH 1:44.49 2 Amos , Nijel BOT 1:44.54 3 Cheruiyot , Ferguson Rotich KEN 1:44.82 4 Kinyor , Job Koech KEN 1:44.95 5 Mutai , Jeremiah Kipkorir KEN 1:45.30 6 Balla , Musaeb Abdulrahman QAT 1:45.37 7 Olivier , André RSA 1:45.39 8 Osagie , Andrew GBR 1:46.08 9 Johnson , Brandon USA 1:47.59 Som , Bram NED DNF
Quick Thought #1: What a Race: This one lived up to the hype. Aman and Amos waged an epic battle and we hope the fans appreciated this one as both guys were digging DEEP. We can’t wait for the rest of the year.
We are thrilled Aman got the win here as he’s a ferocious competitor who we fear may be overshadowed by Rudisha and Amos later in the year (see point #2).
Quick Thought #2: Scary Thought #1: Amos is 75% Fit? Amos told Steve Cram before the race he’s only about 75% fit right now.
Amos is big-time talent who is officially back and relevant. Remember, after winning Olympic silver, there were worries he was going to give up track and field to be a DJ and then he struggled with injuries last year. As a result, some ridiculed LRC co-founder Robert Johnson for wondering if Amos might win this race despite having no big 800s under his belt this year. While he didn’t win, he clearly can’t be discounted the rest of the year.
Quick Thought #3: Scary Thought #2: Here’s a scary thought. Cheruiyot and Kinyor ran well to break 1:45 and grab third and fourth today. Did you know they were trounced by a half-second in Kenya by a 17-year old a few weeks back? Yes, that’s right. On April 26, 17-year old Alfred Kipketer, the 2012 World Youth champion, beat Kinyor by .3 and Cheruiyot by .7.
The 800 is going to be A TON OF FUN TO WATCH THIS YEAR.
Quick Thought #4: Watch the Replay and Listen to the Crowd: Do yourself a favor and watch the race replay below. A great race and the crowd in Doha was raucous.
(USA visitors, there is now a way you can watch Universal Sports and Diamond League meets (and a bunch of soccer and international news) Live or on Demand in the US for $10 a month. Click here if you are interested)
Quick Thought#5: Non US visitors, the screenshots below should help. Click on photo for larger one.