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Men's 800 Round 1 Recap: All The Favorites And Nick Symmonds And Khadevis Robinson Advance
by: LetsRun.com
August 20, 2009
Berlin, Germany

*Photos below

The first round of men's 800m at the 2009 World Track and Field Championships in Berlin was perhaps a bit unusual for a World Championships in the fact that ALL of the favorites made it through to the semifinals.

Just 15 hours after the exciting men's 1,500m final, Yusuf Kamel of Bahrain, the surprise gold medallist at 1,500, and the heavy favorite for gold at 1,500m who did not medal, Asbel Kiprop, both were on the track again racing each other. Both were in the same heat and both qualified for the finals, as Kamel got the heat win over Kiprop in heat 4, where American Khadevis Robinson got the third automatic spot in the semifinals. Kiprop, who avoided the media after not medalling the night before, once again walked through the mixed zone without stopping to chat.

The Kenyan, who had a disastrous 1,500m the night before, looked great in round 1 of the 800, as did all of the Kenyans. A day after Kenya got zero medals in the 1,500 - even though four of the top 5 finishers were born in Kenya - all four Kenyan runners in the 800 advanced and the only one not to win their heat was the precious Kiprop. The top 3 in each heat qualified for the semis automatically so there was no extra incentive to win the heats.

American Nick Symmonds, racing for the first time since his 1:43.83 PR in Monaco on July 28th, looked good in winning his heat, but American Ryan Brown did not advance, nor did Irishman and Notre Dame product Tom Chamney.

If you want more detailed coverage, we have post-race interviews with the Americans and a few others, including Chamney, below plus brief heat recaps with a very brief recap of what is said in the interviews.

Khadevis Robinson On Racing Kiprop And Kamel
 

Nick Symmonds After Winning His Heat

 

 

Alfred Yego On The Pressurue Of Defending His Title

Ryan Brown After Being Eliminated

 

 

 

 

Upset Tom Chamney After Being Eliminated

 

Heat 1: Mulaudzi And Kaki Cruise

Heat 1 featured last year's 800m sensation Abubaker Kaki, who set a world junior record, but bombed out at the semifinals of the Olympics, and 2004 Olympic silver medallist, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of S. Africa.

The Brazilian Fabiano Pecanha led at 200 (25.27) and 400 (53.27) with Kaki in second. On the backstretch, Mulaudzi moved up on the inside and at 600 (1:20.58), Kaki was in third. Mulaudzi would get the narrow win as Kaki moved up down the homestretch to finish .01 behind.

1 2 969 Mbulaeni Mulaudzi RSA 1:46.40 Q
2 6 1054 Abubaker Kaki SUD 1:46.41 Q
3 8 227 Fabiano Peçanha BRA 1:46.68 Q
4 5 613 Sajad Moradi IRI 1:47.68 (SB)
5 7 1128 Abraham Chepkirwok UGA 1:48.57
6 4 1250 Eduard Villanueva VEN 1:48.61
3 378 Manuel Olmedo ESP DNF

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Six Heat 2: Nick Symmonds Wins

Heat 2 featured the US champ Nick Symmonds, fresh off his 1:43.84 PR in Monaco, the Olympic silver medallist Ismail Ahmed Ismail of Sudan, who was overshadowed by Kaki for much of last year, and Bahrain's Belal Mansoor Ali, who finished 7th at Worlds in 2005 as a 17-year-old (he was later cleared of age cheating allegations).

Prince Mumba of Oral Roberts and Zambia did the early leading (26.45 and 54.33). Nick Symmonds was in second at the bell and 600m, the Swede Mattias Claesson had moved up and Symmonds was in 3rd. Down the homestretch, the cream of the field rose to the top, as Symmonds, Ismail, and Mansoor Ali clearly distanced themselves from the field. Symmonds got the win. Afterwards, in the interview up top, Symmonds talked about how it was good to be back racing after having the layoff after his 800m PR and how his confidence is sky high. He said the heat went as expected.

1 1 1232 Nick Symmonds USA 1:47.12 Q
2 6 232 Belal Mansoor Ali BRN 1:47.16 Q
3 8 1053 Ismail Ahmed Ismail SUD 1:47.20 Q
4 3 1074 Mattias Claesson SWE 1:48.02
5 4 615 Thomas Chamney IRL 1:48.09
6 7 1253 Prince Mumba ZAM 1:48.13
7 5 836 Ilija Ranitovic MNE 1:53.17
8 2 1027 Iulio Lafai SAM 2:03.51 (SB)

Heat 3: Reed And Borzakovskiy The Only Sub 1:46s On The Day
Heat 3 featured Gary Reed, who just missed the gold medal at the last World Championships in Osaka, and Russia's Yuriy Borzakovskiy, the 2004 Olympic champ and a medallist at the last 3 World Champs (2 silvers and a bronze).

Samson Ngoepe of S. Africa led at 200 (25.2) and 400 (52.05), with Gary Reed in second. Borzakovskiy moved up by 600, where he was in second (1:19.2). Reed and Borzakovskiy would battle it out down the homestretch, with Reed running all the way to the line even though they were well clear of third. Reed got the win in 1:45.76 and Borzakovskiy the only other runner to dip under 1:46 on the day. Jeff Lastennet got the final automatic qualifying spot and Ngoepe would be rewarded for his early leading with a spot in the final on time. Ryan Brown of the US, in his first World Champs, was fifth in 1:46.92 and would miss the semis by a couple of places. Brown loved his experience at Worlds and we have an interview with him above.

1 6 257 Gary Reed CAN 1:45.76 Q
2 4 988 Yuriy Borzakovskiy RUS 1:45.86 Q
3 2 468 Jeff Lastennet FRA 1:46.30 Q (PB)
4 8 971 Samson Ngoepe RSA 1:46.54 q
5 5 1168 Ryan Brown USA 1:46.92
6 3 797 Mike Schumacher LUX 1:48.18 (PB)
7 7 565 Robin Schembera GER 1:54.47

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Six Heat 4: Kiprop And Kamel Round 2, KD Advances
15 hours after their 1,500m final from the night before, the men's champion Yusuf Kamel and the heavy favorite Asbel Kiprop, who did not medal after trying to go from last to first on the final lap, were back on the track racing each other once again.

Lukas Rifesser of Italy did the pacemaking at 200 and 400 (53.31), where Khadevis Robinson (KD) was in 3rd, Kamel in 5th and Kiprop in his new favorite position, the back.

At 600 (1:20.16) , Mahamoud Farah of Djibouti was in the lead and KD was in second. Down the final stretch, Kamel and Kiprop kicked it into gear and powered away from the field with Kamel finishing in front of Kiprop. KD kept fighting down the homestretch to finish third as Kamel and Kiprop had another gear that he didn't have.

In the interview up top, KD talked about possibly winding up his sprint for home earlier so the other guys wouldn't come by as fast. He was pleased to advance and hoped his body keeps doing what it is capable of, he said.

1 6 233 Yusuf Saad Kamel BRN 1:46.43 Q (SB)
2 3 727 Asbel Kiprop KEN 1:46.52 Q
3 5 1223 Khadevis Robinson USA 1:46.79 Q
4 4 649 Lukas Rifesser ITA 1:47.07
5 7 219 Kleberson Davide BRA 1:47.51
6 8 320 Mahamoud Farah DJI 1:48.23
2 761 Ali Al-Deraan KSA DNS

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Six Heat 5: Alfred Yego Back To Defend
Alfred Yego is a great championship runner. He only sports a PR of 1:43.89, but he has the 2007 World Championships gold to his name and last year's Olympic bronze.

Yego would win his heat 5 in what was the most competitive heat of the day. Yego was the clear winner but only .15 separated him from 5th.

Afterwards, in the interview up top, we talked to Yego briefly and he talked about the pressure of defending and how championship style racing suits him.

1 8 741 Alfred Kirwa Yego KEN 1:48.32 Q
2 1 600 Tamás Kazi HUN 1:48.40 Q
3 4 906 Marcin Lewandowski POL 1:48.41 Q
4 3 767 Mohammed Al-Salhi KSA 1:48.43
5 2 369 Luis Alberto Marco ESP 1:48.47
6 5 1069 Jozef Repcìk SVK 1:48.73
7 6 205 Evans Pinto BOL 1:52.23
8 7 1249 Arnold Sorina VAN 2:00.13 (SB)

Heat 6: Former World Junior Champ David Rudisha Wins
Heat 6 featured 20-year-old former world junior champ David Rudisha (left off Kenya's Olympic team last year) and Yeimer López of Cuba (6th last year in Beijing). Rudisha would go wire-to-wire in this one. 25.56, then a very slow next 200 to hit 400 in 55.09. Rudisha was in control and still in front at 600 (1:22.6). Down the homestretch, López moved up well and it was very tight for third, but Brit Michael Rimmer just edged Abdoulaye Wagne of Senegal. It's worth noting that Rice product Pablo Solares ran the 800 and was last in this heat.

1 6 740 David Lekuta Rudisha KEN 1:47.83 Q
2 2 297 Yeimer López CUB 1:48.04 Q
3 5 516 Michael Rimmer GBR 1:48.20 Q
4 4 1029 Abdoulaye Wagne SEN 1:48.22
5 3 778 Dmitrijs Milkevics LAT 1:48.43
6 8 770 Mohammad Al-Azemi KUW 1:51.73
7 107 Nadjim Manseur ALG DNS

Heat 7: Jackson Kivuva Gives Kenya Its 3rd Heat Win Of The Day
Heat 7 featured the least-well-known Kenyan, Jackson Kivuva, who was runner-up at the 2006 World Juniors to David Rudisha (Kivuva may be unheralded but he talked about winning gold in July).

Moise Joseph of Haiti was in the lead at 400 (52.91). Kivuva moved up to get the win, but 5 guys from this heat would make the final. It's worth noting that Rice product Pablo Solares ran the 800 and was last in this heat.

1 2 732 Jackson Mumbwa Kivuva KEN 1:46.17 Q
2 6 856 Bram Som NED 1:46.33 Q
3 3 810 Amine Laalou MAR 1:46.38 Q
4 7 596 Moise Joseph HAI 1:46.68 q
5 5 904 Adam Kszczot POL 1:46.70 q
6 4 776 Dmitrijs Jurkevics LAT 1:46.90 (SB)
7 8 828 Pablo Solares MEX 1:47.96 (SB)

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