800 Heats: Americans Duane Solomon, Nick Symmonds and Brandon Johnson and The Other Favorites All Advance
August 10, 2013
Moscow, Russia – The 2013 IAAF world championships got under way on Saturday morning with a slew of qualifying events including the men’s 800.
American fans breathe easy. The first round of the men’s 800 went well for you as all three of the Americans, who came in with the first (Duane Solomon), fourth (Nick Symmonds) and sixth (Brandon Johnson) times on the year, moved on automatically to the semifinals.
Ethiopia’s Mo Aman, our world championship favorite, was the most impressive man of the morning as he put up a rare sub-1:45 clocking to win his heat.
In terms of casualties, the biggest person to not advance was probably the third placer at the Kenyan Trials, Jeremiah Mutai. He came in with a 1:43.9 hand-time seasonal best and if you believe that hand time (his best FAT time is 1:44.59) he was the seventh seed in the field. The eighth seed, Spain’s Kevin López, only got through on time.
Quick Take (QT) #1: If we had to rank the Americans in order of impressiveness, it was definitely Solomon one, Symmonds two and Johnson three.
QT #2: We’re glad we got up early to watch the heats as we did get to see one guy PR by six seconds!!! We also learned that Olympic 1500 champion Taoufik Makhloufi isn’t here because he’s fat. Read below to learn all about it.
Heat by Heat results and quick takes below.
Heat 1: Pierre-Ambroise Boss goes wire to wire
Pierre-Ambroise Bosse of France was impressive in this heat as he went wire to wire for the win, trailed closely the whole time by 2011 World fourth placer Marcin Lewandowski of Poland.
There was a battle for the third and final automatic qualifying spot coming down the homestretch between Egypt’s Hamada Mohamed and Brazil’s Kleberson Davide but as they were battling they left the rail totally wide open and Italy’s Girodana Benedetti took advantage of it to move from fifth to third and advance.
Splits: 25.56, 54.86, 1:21.24.
Quick Take (QT) #1: In the end the guys with the three best seasonal times all moved on.
QT #2: SEC champion Leoman Momoh of Arkansas ran for Nigeria in this heat and was last. Not sure why but he had to share a lane with Mali’s Moussa Camar. Meanwhile in heat #2, there was an open lane as Nijel Amos didn’t run.
|1||444||Pierre-Ambroise BOSSE||FRA||1:47.70 Q|
|2||863||Marcin LEWANDOWSKI||POL||1:47.83 Q|
|3||603||Giordano BENEDETTI||ITA||1:47.90 Q|
Heat 2: Uganda’s Ronald Musagala makes a name for himself with wire to wire win
Previous unknown Ronald Musagala, the 20-year old Ugandan champ, surprisingly won heat two over the US’s Brandon Johnson. Musagala, who has a 1:45.71 pb led this heat from start to finish as the splits were 25.36, 53.00 and 1:20.14.
Johnson was in second at 200 and third at 600. Near the finish, he moved up and nearly caught Poland’s Adam Kszczot for second but it didn’t really matter as the top three were certain to advance. Kszczot has run 1:43 in 2011 and 2012 but only 1:44.76 this year.
A well beaten fourth was Spain’s national record holder Kevin López. The 1:43.74 man only got in as a time qualifier time.
Quick Take #1: A surprising win for Musagala whose 1:45 clocking from Uganda earlier this year isn’t even recorded on results site tilastopaja.org.
QT #2: Johnson will have to run better than this to get to the final.
QT #3: We’ve known for about a week that 2012 Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos wasn’t running so why was his lane empty when people were doubling up in other lanes?
Brandon Johnson after making semis
|1||1083||Ronald MUSAGALA||UGA||1:46.12 Q|
|2||862||Adam KSZCZOT||POL||1:46.26 Q|
|3||1137||Brandon JOHNSON||USA||1:46.32 Q|
|4||386||Kevin LÓPEZ||ESP||1:46.61 q|
Heat 3: Solomon goes wire to wire
2013 US champion and 2012 Olympic fourth placer Duane Solomon impressively went wire to wire to win heat three in 1:45.80. The #2 seed in this heat Abdulaziz Ladan Mohammed of Saudi Arabia was second and Brit Andrew Osagie third.
Also advancing on time were the fourth and fifth placers.
Splits: 24.86, 51.73, 118.81.
Quick Take #1: After grabbing the heat win, Solomon raised his index finger and shook it at the tv camera. Not sure what it meant, maybe ‘Watch out. Don’t doubt me.’ Screen shot on left. Click on the photo for a bigger photo.
|1||1167||Duane SOLOMON||USA||1:45.80 Q|
|2||745||Abdulaziz Ladan MOHAMMED||KSA||1:45.94 Q|
|3||498||Andrew OSAGIE||GBR||1:46.16 Q|
|4||388||Luis Alberto MARCO||ESP||1:46.40 q|
|5||579||Tamás KAZI||HUN||1:46.48 q|
Duane Solomon after winning his heat
*Andrew Osagie Interview
Heat 4: Nick Symmonds Wins His Heat
Nick Symmonds didn’t do use his old tactic of running in the back as he told us afterwards he wanted to make sure he avoided traffic. This heat went out a bit slower (25.68) and he was in second but guys were three abreast. At 400 (53.67), Symmonds had the lead.
At 600 (1:20.70), Symmonds was in second but far from being in the clear. The battle for the three spots would be tight all the way to the finish. The top three guys were pretty much side by side for most of the final 100 but Ireland’s Mark English, who at 1:44.84 earlier this year was is just .02 off the Irish record, was never too far behind.
In the end, Symmonds pushed just before the line just to be safe and advanced with a heat win in 1:46.90 as second and third were 1:46.94. English didn’t advance at 1:47.08 (the final time qualifier was 1:46.76).
Quick take #1: We wouldn’t say Symmonds looked particularly impressive. He was looking back and he did win the heat, but it’s kind of scary to think he was just .18 of a second from going home in the first round.
QT #2: We spoke with Symmonds after the race and he didn’t seem fazed by the pressure at all and said everything went pretty much according to plan. Off camera, we were pleased to learn he read our piece on the top 11 American medal prospects in Moscow this morning. It amazes us that this super media savvy guy isn’t better paid.
QT # 3: We also filmed have an interview with the 20-year old English which is embedded as well. Off camera, we asked him if he considered going to college in the US. He said yes he seriously considered Villanova but didn’t want to have to run cross country. He also said he did some research and thought a lot of Irish guys came back injured from possibly over-racing.
QT #4: This heat would have been really crazy had Kenya’s Jeremiah Mutai run well. He told another reporter he hurt a tendon in his lower leg (his achilles?) in the first 100 but kept running.
|1||1169||Nick SYMMONDS||USA||1:46.90 Q|
|2||898||Musaeb Abdulrahman BALLA||QAT||1:46.94 Q|
|3||777||Samir JAMMA||MAR||1:46.94 Q|
|7||721||Jeremiah Kipkorir MUTAI||KEN||1:50.17|
Nick Symmonds after winning his heat
*Mark English Interview
Heat 5: Aman solidified his favorite status with 1:44 clocking
The 800 favorite Mohammed Aman powered home in the last 100 to win heat five in the fastest time of the day – 1:44.93. Kenyan runner-up Ferguson Cheruyiot was second in 1:45.25 and Britain’s Michael Rimmer went from eighth to third over the final 200 to grab third in 1:45.47 as those three times were the fastest three of the day.
The fast times were made possible by Burundi’s Antoine Gakema. The 21-year old neophyte came in with an official personal best of just 1:52.81, but he ran aggressively and amazingly left with a 1:46.70 and a spot in the semifinals.
Kenya’s Cheruiyot had the lead at 200 (24.35) and 400 (50.71) but despite the very fast splits, Gakema pushed to the lead (and showed his inexperience) at 500. His surge 300 meters out from the finish cost him in the last 100 but he was justly rewarded with a spot in the final.
The 600 split was 1:17.16.
Quik Take #1: 1:44 clockings in the first round are very rare. Alfonz Juck told us after the race that they’ve only been done a handful of times. The fastest opening round time in history is 1:44.73.
|1||414||Mohammed AMAN||ETH||1:44.93 Q|
|2||701||Ferguson Rotich CHERUIYOT||KEN||1:45.25 Q|
|3||499||Michael RIMMER||GBR||1:45.47 Q|
|4||142||Alexander ROWE||AUS||1:45.96 q|
|5||173||Antoine GAKEME||BDI||1:46.70 q||PB|
|6||303||Rafith RODRÍGUEZ||COL||1:46.76 q|
Michael Rimmer of Great Britain on Making Semis
The third seed in the 800 Ayanleh Souleiman got the heat win here ahead of Kenya’s 20-year old champion Anthony Chemut.
Splits: 53.48, 1:20.42.
QT #1: We spoke with Souleiman after the race. He is part of Jama Aden’s training group which includes 2011 800 silver medallist Abubaker Kaki as well as 2012 Olympic 1500 champ Taoufik Makhloufi, neither of whom are at Worlds. We asked Souleiman about them and Souleiman said Kaki isn’t here due to an injury (he hasn’t raced outdoors this year). As for Makhloufi, Souleiman said he wasn’t here because he’s become fat after becoming the Olympic champion.
You can watch our interview as we’ve embedded it. We’ve always thought more athletes would enjoy their Olympic success. Finally, we have found one who apparently has.
Qt #2: Not many people PR in the first round of the 800 but Timor-Leste’s lone entrant Ribeiro De Carvalho did. Of course, his PR coming in was just 2:06.26. He ran 2:04.74.
QT #3: Belarus’s national record holder Anis Ananenka,who came in seeded in the top 20 at 1:44.43, failed to move on in this heat.
|1||343||Ayanleh SOULEIMAN||DJI||1:46.86 Q|
|2||699||Anthony CHEMUT||KEN||1:47.13 Q|
|3||773||Amine EL MANAOUI||MAR||1:47.15 Q|
|8||1041||Ribeiro DE CARVALHO||TLS||2:04.74||PB|
Ayanleh Souleiman On Doubling And Winning His Heat
800m Round 1 Interviews: *Duane Solomon
*All 800m Round 1 Interviews (Nick Symmonds, Duane Solomon, Brandon Johnson, Ayanleh Souleiman, Mark English, Andrew Osagie, Michael Rimmer, Anthony Romaniw)