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By David Monti
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
*IAAF Recap of 800s here

OSAKA (31-Aug) -- A new world champion will be crowned in the men's 800m on Sunday as defending champion, Rachid Ramzi of Bahrain, finished eighth and last in his heat and was eliminated from the competition.

"My left knee hurt, but this was not the reason why I was last," Ramzi told IAAF interviewers after tonight's semi-final race.  "I was simply tired.  I did not run a lot of races this year and this was already my fifth race at the world championships."

Ramzi, the double gold medalist at 800m and 1500m in Helsinki, earned the silver medal in the men's 1500m final on Wednesday, losing in the final sprint to American Bernard Lagat.

"I came here to Osaka only to run the 1500 meters, but when I did not win the gold medal I wanted to give it a try with the 800m," Ramzi continued.  It was my own decision, there was no pressure from the Bahraini federation.  This is the rule of sport - one time you win, another time you lose."

Leading all qualifiers into the final was Alfred Kirwa Yego who won the first and fastest heat in 1:44.54, his best time this season.  American Khadevis Robinson led through 600 meters, but was passed by three men in the final turn and finished fourth in 1:45.45, not quite good enough to qualify on time.

"I thought I would have a lot left over at the end," said Robinson.  "My body didn't respond.  I gave it my best shot."

Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa finished second and advanced to the final, as did third place Abraham Chepkirwok of Kenya who advanced on time.

Canadian Gary Reed won the second heat in 1:44.92, and was able to ease up at the finish and still win by almost a full second.  The 25 year-old, who finished eighth in the final in Helsinki, was pleased with his performance and looking forward to the final.

"Tacticly, it was very good," said Reed.  He added, "I'm back in the final again.  One more crack at it."

Amine Laalou of Morocco finished second to Reed and also advanced.  Russian Dmitriy Bogdanov, Yuriy Borzakovskiy's training partner, finished third and was eliminated, as was American Nick Symmonds who finished sixth.  Symmonds was in the back going into the final turn and could not contend in the sprint for home.

"With about halfway to go I saw the pack pulling away," said Symmonds who said he was tired from a long season of racing. "I just couldn't do it."

Borzakovskiy, the reigning Olympic champion, won the third and final heat in 1:45.12.  "I did not feel too much pressure today," he told IAAF interviewers.

Behind Borzakovskiy the always-consistent Wilfred Bungei of Kenya waited for the final 20 meters to reach full speed and moved into second just before the line, sealing his place in the final.  "I was worried," said Bungei who enjoys analyzing his races.  "I knew it was going to be very tough."

Bungei was less talkative about his chances of winning a medal.  "It's going to be a secret what I will do in the final," he said with a smile.

Mohammed Al Salhi of Saudi Arabia finished third and advanced with the final time qualifier.

*IAAF Recap of 800ms here

Official Results - 800 Metres - M - Semi-Final  
Group A - 31 august 2007 - 20:05    
Pos Lane    Bib Athlete     Country Mark    
1   8   780 Alfred Kirwa Yego   KEN 1:44.54 Q   (SB)
2   5   938 Mbulaeni Mulaudzi   RSA 1:44.71 Q   
3   9   1063    Abraham Chepkirwok  UGA 1:44.84 q   
4   7   1134    Khadevis Robinson   USA 1:45.45     
5   6   401 Fabiano PeƧanha BRA 1:45.95     
6   4   798 Dmitrijs Milkevics  LAT 1:46.27     
7   2   986 Abdoulaye Wagne SEN 1:46.49     
8   3   814 Mouhssin Chehibi    MAR 1:51.31     
Intermediate    Bib Athlete     Nat Event
400m    1134    Khadevis Robinson   USA 50.33
Group B - 31 august 2007 - 20:12    
Pos Lane    Bib Athlete     Country Mark    
1   6   428 Gary Reed   CAN 1:44.92 Q   
2   5   820 Amine Laalou    MAR 1:45.11 Q   
3   3   949 Dmitriy Bogdanov    RUS 1:45.36     (SB)
4   7   309 Nabil Madi  ALG 1:45.59     
5   8   514 Manuel Olmedo   ESP 1:45.61     
6   4   1140    Nick Symmonds   USA 1:46.41     
7   9   771 Justus Koech    KEN 1:46.86     
8   2   408 Rashid Ramzi    BRN 1:47.76     
Intermediate    Bib Athlete     Nat Event
 400m    949 Dmitriy Bogdanov    RUS 51.57
Group C - 31 august 2007 - 20:19    
Pos Lane    Bib Athlete     Country Mark    
1   7   950 Yuriy Borzakovskiy  RUS 1:45.12 Q   
2   5   765 Wilfred Bungei  KEN 1:45.20 Q   
3   9   785 Mohammed Al Salhi   KSA 1:45.23 q   
4   6   405 Youssef Saad Kamel  BRN 1:45.31     
5   8   394 Kleberson Davide    BRA 1:46.45     
6   3   605 Michael Rimmer  GBR 1:47.39     
7   2   811 Yassine Bensghir    MAR 1:48.04     
8   4   794 Mohammad Al-Azemi   KUW 1:50.28     
Intermediate    Bib Athlete     Nat Event
 400m    605 Michael Rimmer  GBR 51.42

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