2011 IAAF World Championships Day 1 - Quick Previews Of Men's 800 And Women's Steeplechase

*Full Schedule

By LetsRun.com
August 25, 2011

On day 1, the women's marathon final is the biggest event but as that goes on the women's steeple will get under way and then when it's over the men's 800 will get underway.

Prior to each final, we'll re-preview each mid-d and distance event but we wanted to give you a quick overview of the event prior to the first round.

Women's Steeple - Will A Lightly-Raced Russian Spoil Chemos' Perfect Sesason?
(9:35 PM East Coast Time Friday Night)

33 women will toe the line in 3 heats of the women's steeplechase, but there are far fewer people you need to really pay attention to. In our minds, if you haven't broken 9:30, you really have next to zero chance of medalling. As a result, the full heat sheets can be found here but below we present to you the heats sheets with only the people under 9:30 on the year listed so you can really focus on the top contenders as you watch the action live as we doubt the announcers will know a lot about everyone.

Quick Thought #1: Kenya's Milcah Chemos is the world leader and undefeated on the year. If she's going to be beaten, we'd think Sofia Assefa would do it, as twice this year she's come within a second of Chemos. Plus Assefa has been training since July 10th, whereas Chemos was still racing in Europe in early August. 2009 silver medallist Yuliya Zarudneva (Zaripova on the start list, maybe she got married?) of Russia is lightly raced (1 for 1 in steeple on year) and has run 9:08 before. She should be in the hunt as well as she's only 25.

Quick Thought #2: It wouldn't shock us if Zarudneva won but as fans of the sport, we refuse to pick a lightly-raced Russian female for the win. That being said, the Russian women have had a lot of success in this event over its brief history, picking up 1 gold and 3 silvers. The Kenyan women, unlike their male counterparts (who have never lost a world title in the steeple), haven't been so fortunate, as they've never finished in the top two at Worlds (three bronzes).

LRC Prediction:
1) Chemos wins. At Worlds in 2009, she had a 13+ second PR to get the bronze after racing a lot. If she PRs here, it's hard to see her losing.
2) Zarudneva
3) Assefa

Heat 1

Order Bib Athlete Country 2011 PB
3 584 Mercy Wanjiku Njoroge KEN 9:16.94 9:16.94
4 853 Habiba Ghribi TUN 9:20.33 9:12.52
6 346 Birtukan Fente ETH 9:28.27 9:28.27

Heat 2

Order Bib Athlete Country 2011 PB
3 337 Sofia Assefa ETH 9:15.04 9:15.04
9 588 Lydia Chebet Rotich KEN 9:19.20 9:18.03
10 762 Lyubov Kharlamova RUS 9:29.39 9:29.39

Heat 3

Order Bib Athlete Country 2011 PB
2 334 Birtukan Adamu ETH 9:20.37 9:20.37
4 791 Yuliya Zaripova RUS 9:23.82 9:08.39
7 574 Milcah Chemos Cheywa KEN 9:12.89 9:08.57



Men's 800 Gets Underway - Can David Rudisha (And Nick Symmonds) Fulfill Expectations?
(11:05 PM East Coast Time Friday Night)

The first of three rounds of the men's 800 also start on Saturday, as the men's 800 field of 44 will be taken down to 24.

We are very, very excited to watch heat 4, as noted American frontrunner Charles Jock will race the world record holder David Rudisha, who always seems to go out fast himself. Will Jock cede the lead to Rudisha or vice versa? It should be interesting. Also heat 3 should be a good one as it features world #2 Abubaker Kaki versus Alfred Kirwa Yego, who has medalled in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Quick Thought #1: The top 3 in each heat automatically qualify and then the next 6 fastest, but given how the 800 can often be tactical, one shouldn't assume qualification is automatic for anyone. You can find full heat sheets here, but below we present to you everyone in each heat that has a seasonal best of 1:45.99 or better. There are at least 4 guys in every heat that meet that criteria and 26 overall. Look for one or two names to bomb out.

Heat 1

Lane Bib Athlete Country 2011 PB
1 743 Mouhcine El Amine MAR 1:45.62 1:45.62
4 1125 Nick Symmonds USA 1:43.83 1:43.76
5 338 Kevin López ESP 1:44.49 1:44.49
7 219 Andrew Ellerton CAN 1:45.04 1:45.04

Heat 2

Lane Bib Athlete Country 2011 PB
1 654 Jackson Mumbwa Kivuva KEN 1:44.40 1:43.72
4 455 Michael Rimmer GBR 1:45.12 1:43.89
5 348 Antonio Manuel Reina ESP 1:45.38 1:43.83
7 905 Yuriy Borzakovskiy RUS 1:43.99 1:42.47

Heat 3

Lane Bib Athlete Country 2011 PB
1 340 Luis Alberto Marco ESP 1:45.95 1:45.26
2 667 Alfred Kirwa Yego KEN 1:44.55 1:42.67
3 195 Fernando da Silva BRA 1:45.66 1:45.66
4 962 Abubaker Kaki SUD 1:43.13 1:42.23
5 364 Mohammed Aman ETH 1:44.68 1:44.68

Heat 4

Lane Bib Athlete Country 2011 PB
1 837 Marcin Lewandowski POL 1:44.61 1:43.84
2 786 Bram Som NED 1:45.69 1:43.45
4 105 Mahfoud Brahimi ALG 1:45.84 1:45.84
6 664 David Lekuta Rudisha KEN 1:42.61 1:41.01
7 1088 Charles Jock USA 1:44.67 1:44.67

Heat 5

Lane Bib Athlete Country 2011 PB
1 834 Adam Kszczot POL 1:44.30 1:44.30
3 716 Mohammad Al-Azemi KUW 1:45.35 1:44.13
5 196 Kleberson Davide BRA 1:44.21 1:44.21
7 452 Andrew Osagie GBR 1:45.36 1:45.36

Heat 6

Lane Bib Athlete Country 2011 PB
1 1116 Khadevis Robinson USA 1:44.03 1:43.68
2 201 Lutmar Paes BRA 1:45.32 1:45.32
4 267 Rafith Rodríguez COL 1:44.31 1:44.31
7 961 Ismail Ahmed Ismail SUD 1:45.14 1:43.82

Quick Thought #2: In terms of favorites, world record holder David Rudisha has seemingly been anointed by everyone but us as being unbeatable. He's certainly the favorite, but we'll just point out that Abubaker Kaki is very good and he actually leads the head-to-head with Rudisha 5 to 4 and Rudisha has never made a WC or Olympic final. Also there will be no rabbits in Daegu. If Rudisha tries to run fast as he always does, he'll serve as the rabbit for the rest of the field.

Rudisha Vs. Kaki All-Time At 800

WJ Beijing 2006-08-18 

1:47.40 (1)

1:48.46 (6)

GP Doha 2007-05-11 

1:45.63 (6)

1:45.42 (4)

Bislett Oslo 2008-06-06 

1:43.72 (2)

1:42.69 (1)

GSpike Ostrava 2008-06-12 

1:44.47 (2)

1:43.80 (1)

Super GP Doha 2009-05-08 

1:44.78 (4)

1:43.09 (1)

FBKG Hengelo 2009-06-01 

1:43.53 (3)

1:43.10 (1)

WC Berlin 2009-08-20 

did not reach final (0) tie!

did not reach final (0)

Bislett Oslo 2010-06-04 

1:42.04 (1)

1:42.23 (2)

VD Bruxelles 2010-08-27 

1:43.50 (1)

1:43.84 (2)

Aviva London 2011-08-05 

1:42.91 (1)

1:43.13 (2)

Quick Thought #3  It would be great to see all 3 Americans make it to round 2.

In terms of medal of chances, we'd say that Nick Symmonds has a 15%-20% of medalling, which in our minds is very good. But now, if he doesn't medal or doesn't make the final, we hope the American fans don't turn on him. With there only being three rounds, it's not easy to make the final, as the field goes from 24 to 8 in the "semifinal." We put "semifinal" in quotes as that round features three heats, so in our minds it's not a semifinal. In the semifinal or 2nd round, only the top 2 in each heat will be guaranteed advancement to the final. Please realize that in three Diamond League races this year, Symmonds has never finished in the top 2 - his highest finish has been just third. As a result, please realize that his odds of not making the final are pretty close to his odds of medalling.

Quick Thought #4: We just got chills imagining a new Billy Mills type moment where Kaki and Rudisha get engaged in an epic battle but tie up as Symmonds nips them at the line.

LRC Prediction: Do we have to make a prediction before it starts?
1) Rudisha comes through.
2) Kaki gets silver before moving up to the 1,500 for 2012.
3) Yego - The Kenyan is always great when it counts. To medal in 4 straight Worlds/Olympics would be an amazing accomplishment.


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