David Rudisha, Abubaker Kaki and Nick Symmonds All Advance to 800m Final

By LetsRun.com
August 28, 2011

Sunday night in the semi-finals of the 800m, world #1 and world #2 David Rudisha and Abubaker Kaki both advanced to the 800m finals but they did it in dramatically different fashion. Rudisha did it with ease while Kaki had to sneak into the final on time.

We recap all the 800m semi-final action below with commentary and post-race athlete reaction.  There were 3 semi-finals with the top 2 in each semi-final automatically advancing to the final, and then the next 2 fastest times advancing.

Heat 1: Kaki Cruises.... Until the Final 50

KD Bows Out and Makes No Excuses

In heat 1, Abubaker Kaki took it out like a guy who had run a second faster this year than everyone else in his heat. He blasted the first 200 in 23.86 and opened up a gap on the field that included 2007 World Champion Alfred Yego of Kenya. Kaki extended his lead to roughly 7 meters at 400 (50.19) and blasted down the backstretch still comfortably in front (600 in 1:17.61). American Khadevis Robinson was in 7th at the bell but made a big move on the backstretch and was 3rd at 600m just behind Poland's Marcin Lewandowski.

Kaki maintained his lead onto the homestretch and it seemed the field was left to battle for the final automatic qualifying spot for the final.  Lewandowski and Yego were battling for second as was Robinson but it became apparent Robinson was not going in the right direction.  Meanwhile, Ethiopia's Mohammed Aman was flying like a rocket down the homestretch moving up on everyone. And up front Kai began to falter. His lead quickly evaporated as they all approached the line and it was close between Aman, Lewandowski, and Kaki but Aman was the clear winner  in 1:44.57, .03 ahead of Lewandowski while Kaki was a further .02 behind the last automatic spot.  Alred Yego as another .20 back and then came KD in 1:45.27.

Kaki would have to sweat it out during the next two heats ,but fortunately would make the final on time as would Yego as Kaki's fast pace paid off. They all start from scratch in Tuesday's final.

Post Race Reaction from Yego, KD, and a Look at Mohammed Aman
On paper Momammed Aman (also known as Mohammed Gelato) is 17 years old. He was runner-up at the World YOUTH Championships earlier this year. With age cheating rampant, we feel it's fair to discount his age but note he is a big meet performer. His previous pr (1:44.68 was at the World Youth Champs).

Khadevis Robinson (our favorite interview in the sport) made no excuses after the race and said the race played out how he thought it would and he was in great position with 100m to go but did not just deliver. He said it takes 1:44 to the make the final and he did not do what was necessary.


Alred Yego After Semifinal

1 7 364 Mohammed Aman ETH 1:44.57 Q (PB)
2 5 837 Marcin Lewandowski POL 1:44.60 Q (SB)
3 6 962 Abubaker Kaki SUD 1:44.62 q
4 3 667 Alfred Kirwa Yego KEN 1:44.82 q
5 4 1116 Khadevis Robinson USA 1:45.27
6 1 298 Andreas Bube DEN 1:45.48 (PB)
7 2 549 Sajad Moradi IRI 1:46.17 (SB)
8 8 348 Antonio Manuel Reina ESP 1:48.45

Heat 2: Nick Symmonds Goes Wire to Wire

Nick Symmonds Excited to Make Final

Heat 2 featured American Nick Symmonds who has been having a stellar 2011 campaign and 2004 Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy.

Symmonds reluctantly took the lead as the first 200m was a modest 25.62. Symmonds continued to lead at 400m (52.83) as Britain's  Andrew Osagie moved up on his shoulder.

The pace was slow and the savvy racer Borzakovskiy smartly began to move up on the backstretch. Symmonds was still in front at 600 (1:19.79) trying to control the race, but Yuriy was there. Heading into the homestretch Symmonds still was leading with Borzakovskiy right there and the field ready to strike. Had Symmonds served as an unintentional rabbit?

No. He and Borzakovskiy were clearly best down the homestretch. Yuriy moved ahead of Symmonds right before the line but then they finished with the same time 1:45.73 with Nick getting the heat win. Jackson Kivuva was third in 1:45.97 but that would not be good enough to make the final. Symmonds and Yuriy embraced at the finish, both relieved at having advanced.

Symmonds Ready for His Second Final
Symmonds said the plan was not to lead but he knew the pace might be slow and he needed to be near the front. Once in front he thought, "Don't let anyone pass you." When Yuriy moved up on him on the backstretch Symmonds thought, "I can't let him get around me, I'll be boxed. I did everything I could to hold him off on the curve and then I think we ran together down the homestretch."

Symmonds added, "Making the final, one of the times it works out in your favor... I'm third fastest on paper..If I close like I did at USAs I think it will be good for a medal."

QT: Nick Symmonds ran an excellent race. Leading wire to wire is not easy to do in the 800 especially off of a modest pace.

1 6 1125 Nick Symmonds USA 1:45.73 Q
2 4 905 Yuriy Borzakovskiy RUS 1:45.73 Q
3 5 654 Jackson Mumbwa Kivuva KEN 1:45.97
4 7 452 Andrew Osagie GBR 1:46.12
5 2 535 Tamás Kazi HUN 1:46.53
6 8 786 Bram Som NED 1:46.69
7 3 338 Kevin López ESP 1:46.86
8 1 1144 Prince Mumba ZAM 1:47.06

Heat 3: David Rudisha Shows Why He Is the World Record Holder

The best 800m runner in the world, David Rudisha, showed why in heat 3.

He took it out in 24.35 with  Brazil's Kleberson Davide on his shoulder. 400 was reached in 51.19 but no one dared pass the alpha male Rudisha. The 600m was 1:18.28 with Rudisha in front and Poland's Adam Kszczot moving up to try and challenge as everyone was now single file.

Heading into the homestretch Kszczot was in striking distance, but Rudisha without looking taxed just glided away from the field.  He got the win in 1:44.20, which was believe it or not the fastest 800m semifinal ever at the World Championships.  Kszczot  got the second and final qualifying spot in 1:44.81.

1 4 664 David Lekuta Rudisha KEN 1:44.20 Q
2 3 834 Adam Kszczot POL 1:44.81 Q
3 6 196 Kleberson Davide BRA 1:45.06
4 5 267 Rafith Rodríguez COL 1:46.41
5 8 105 Mahfoud Brahimi ALG 1:46.79
6 1 340 Luis Alberto Marco ESP 1:47.45
7 2 768 Moussa Camara MLI 1:48.15
7 716 Mohammad Al-Azemi KUW DNF

Overall Splits

Split Heat 1

Heat 2

Heat 3

200m 23.86 25.62

24.35

400m 50.19

52.83

51.19

600m 1:17.61

1:19.79

1:18.28  

Thoughts on the Final:
It'll be interesting to see what strategy Rudisha uses with Kaki in the final and no rabbits. Kaki may not try leading after today's experience and we'd expect Rudisha to be on the lead as he always is near the front and is used to going out in 50 flat. Rudisha looked fabulous today but doing it with Kaki and Symmonds behind you is much different than doing it with Adam Kszczot  (who is only a 1:44.30 runner). Rudisha should be beating a guy like that easily.

Rudisha is far from a lock for gold as this is the 800.

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