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Men's 800m Semis: Kaki Trips Himself, Kiprop Blows Up, Ismail DNFs; Other Than That, Nothing Happened

by: LetsRun.com
August 21, 2009
Berlin, Germany

Semifinal 1 (3 heats, top 2, next 2 times)
Well, the first heat of the semifinals of the men's 800m was a dramatic affair. 200m passed fairly normally until the leader and perhaps best 800m runner in the world, Sudanese Abubaker Kaki, while leading, was clipped from behind by Bram Som of the Netherlands. Kaki fell very awkwardly and Marcin Lewandowski and Som went down with him. Frenchman Jeff Lastennet did not go down in the fall, but apparently he was affected, as he would slow tremendously and only finish in 1:57.

Kaki Sulks, Nick Soars
12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Seven

How about American poster boy Nick Symmonds? Well, it couldn't have gone much better for the Oregonian. He decided to go out very relaxed, at the back of the pack. He avoided the disaster of the fall on the outside and then very alertly darted to the front.

From last to first. From underdog to favorite. Symmonds simply pushed the pace reasonably the remainder of the race and won going away over Kenyan Jackson Mumbwa Kivuva. There were only four guys really left running for the 2 automatic spots, but Symmonds looked good.

Afterwards, in the interview above, he said, "But when it does, you have to take advantage of it. I didn't look back. I tried to get athletically around them, shoot that gap and keep my cool for 500 meters. As an amateur, I might have hesitated a little bit. But in this type of race, hesitation will kill you in a race like the 800."

Nick Symmonds Ready For The Final

Bram Som On The Fall

Semifinal 1 Splits
24.53 - then Kaki falls, taking 2 others with him
51.94 (27.41) - Symmonds leads the rest of the way
1:18.92 (26.98)
1:45.96 (27.04)

1 5 1232 Nick Symmonds USA 1:45.96 Q
2 7 732 Jackson Mumbwa Kivuva KEN 1:46.32 Q
3 8 232 Belal Mansoor Ali BRN 1:46.57
4 2 600 Tamás Kazi HUN 1:47.01
5 1 468 Jeff Lastennet FRA 1:57.43
6 6 906 Marcin Lewandowski POL 2:01.62
4 856 Bram Som NED DNF
3 1054 Abubaker Kaki SUD DNF

Semifinal 2

Semifinal 2 was the "Group of Death." Track and Field News apparently called it the toughest semifinal ever. See the Khadevis Robinson interview, where he says he had no idea about his semifinal until 200m sprinter Wallace Spearmon came up to him at breakfast and said how hard it was. Spearmon said, "The only thing crazier than my race (Bolt's 19.19) is your heat today."

Craziness continued in the second semifinal. Ending up eliminated were none other than young Beijing Olympic silver medallist Ismail Ahmed Ismail and Beijing Olympic 1,500m pending gold medallist Asbel Kiprop! So in a matter of minutes, favorites Ismail, Kiprop and Kaki all bit the dust.

Kiprop for some reason got out hard, leading the field through 200m in 24.63. Much like Kaki in the heat before, Kiprop would meet a cruel fate. He lasted for a while but then totally gave up with about 200m to go. His egg was fried and Kiprop would go home without a medal after being favored to bring home two. He finished in 1:52.

Ismail Ahmed Ismail, the Olympic silver medallist, stopped running at the 400m mark. We're not sure what happened, as he just stopped and kicked the air in disgust. Both he and Kaki walked through the mixed zone without talking to reporters.

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day SevenWith all this craziness going on and favorites dropping out, we still had 2007 world champion Alfred Kirwa Yego, the tiny Kenyan, dangerous Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy, South African superstar Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and the former Gary Konchellah, now better-known as the 2009 1,500m World Champion Yusuf Saad Kamel.

After the fast opening pace, the race went pretty well to form if you remove Kiprop and Ismail from the picture. Borzakovskiy sensed the slowing pace with 250m to go and assumed the lead from Kiprop. He powered home, kicking a little bit earlier than he usually does. But it was a smart and capable tactic because he nabbed the 2nd spot.

While Kiprop struggled to return from the 1,500m, Kamel showed no such fatigue. He ran a very smart race, staying out of trouble in the heat. He then had a great kick and won the heat. Behind him, Mulaudzi was pinched behind Yego and Borzakovskiy. Only the top 2 got through automatically and the times weren't super-fast so every spot really mattered. In the end all three leaned and it went Borzakovskiy, Yego, Mulaudzi. All three ended up in the final when all was said and done.

American veteran Khadevis Robinson never factored down the homestretch, finishing almost a second behind the top 4 in 1:45.91.

In the interviews below, Khadevis says how Kiprop just "shutting it off" in front of him with 200 to go caused some problems as he had to go around him. Plus, we finally were able to talk to Asbel Kiprop, who leaves Berlin with possibly the most disappointing championships of any distance runner. In the interview, Kiprop, who basically quit running here with 200 to go, claims his problems were he peaked too early in the season.

Khadevis On The Group Of Death
And Kiprop Stopping

Kiprop On His Disappointing Meet

Defending Champ Yego Talks About Making The Final

Ismail And Kaki Avoid The Media

Semifinal 2 Splits
24.63 Kiprop
51.54 (26.91) Kiprop
1:18.83 (27.29) Kiprop
1:45.01 (26.18)

1 1 233 Yusuf Saad Kamel BRN 1:45.01 Q (SB)
2 6 988 Yuriy Borzakovskiy RUS 1:45.16 Q
3 8 741 Alfred Kirwa Yego KEN 1:45.22 q (SB)
4 7 969 Mbulaeni Mulaudzi RSA 1:45.26 q
5 4 1223 Khadevis Robinson USA 1:45.91
6 2 904 Adam Kszczot POL 1:46.33
7 3 727 Asbel Kiprop KEN 1:52.05
5 1053 Ismail Ahmed Ismail SUD DNF

Semifinal 3
12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day SevenPerhaps there is no event on the track that had so many medal contenders as the men's 800m. There were literally about 15 guys who could win a medal or make the final. We saw many contenders - and legitimate contenders at that - eliminated in the first heats.

The final heat was no different. Brazilian Fabiona Peçanha stepped right out to the lead. He led favorites Gary Reed (silver by 0.01 in 2007), Yeimar Lopez of Cuba, youngster David Rudisha of Kenya and Moroccan Amine Laalou.

Their splits were eerily similar to those of the previous heats, so we knew it would be a nail biter to figure out the finalists.

Much like the 1,500m heats, Laalou looked superb, coming through from off the pace to take the win. Of course, in the 1,500m final, Laalou didn't factor at all after everyone wanted to crown him the next great Moroccan middle-distance runner.

Behind Laalou it was a mess. Peçanha fell off the pace, while the 400m runner Lopez looked great at the steady pace. He was able to make up some ground in the last 100m to overtake Rudisha and Reed by an extremely narrow margin. Rudisha started leaning 10m out and almost fell on his face like Nancy Lagat did in her 1,500m semifinal. Both top Kenyans would miss the final. Rudisha afterwards said he felt some tightness in his legs - see the interview bleow.

Rudisha and Reed could only look up at the board and hope their times were fast enough. They weren't, and both had their championships ended. 2007 champion Alfred Kirwa Yego has made the final for Kenya, joining Kamel (now for Bahrain) and Kivuva as Kenyan finalists. Yego will be trying to repeat in the 800m, which - as you can see - is quite difficult to do!

Former World Junior Champ Rudisha Eliminated

World Junior Silver Medallist Kivuva Advances

Semifinal 3 Splits
51.54 (26.84)
1:45.28 (53.74)

1 3 810 Amine Laalou MAR 1:45.27 Q
2 4 297 Yeimer López CUB 1:45.33 Q
3 5 740 David Lekuta Rudisha KEN 1:45.40
4 6 257 Gary Reed CAN 1:45.60
5 2 596 Moise Joseph HAI 1:45.87 (SB)
6 7 227 Fabiano Peçanha BRA 1:45.94
7 1 516 Michael Rimmer GBR 1:46.77
8 8 971 Samson Ngoepe RSA 1:49.03

Amine Laalou MAR
Yeimar Lopez CUB
Nick Symmonds USA
Yusuf Saad Kamel Bahrain
Alfred Kirwa Yego KEN
Yuriy Borzakovskiy RUS
Mbulaeni Mulaudzi RSA
Jackson Mumbwa Kivuva KEN


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