Men’s 800 Preview: Mo Aman The Favorite But It Wont Be Easy, Especially With Two Poles In The Hunt

March 5, 2014

With four of the top 5 competitors from the 2013 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Moscow competing, led by the gold and silver medalists Mohamed Aman and Nick Symmonds, the 2014 IAAF World Indoors men’s 800 is a very high quality affair.

The full field is as follows:

800 Metres Men  


PR (o=outdoor)

2014 Best

Mohamed AMAN ETH 1/10/1994 1:42.37 o 1:44.52 Reigning world champ indoors and outdoors. Finalist at 2011 Worlds and 2012 Olympics. Undefeated with the WL this year.
André OLIVIER RSA 12/29/1989 1:44.29 o 1:44.99 S. African national champ outdoors last year.
Adam KSZCZOT POL 9/2/1989 1:43.30 o 1:45.19 2-time Euro Indoor champ also has a bronze medal from the 2010 World Indoors. Just won 7th national title in Sopot.
Andrew OSAGIE GBR 2/19/1988 1:43.77 o 1:45.22 Bronze medalist at 2012 World Indoors and finalist in the last 2 outdoor global championships.
Marcin LEWANDOWSKI POL 6/13/1987 1:43.79 o 1:45.56 WChamps finalist in 2009, 2011 and 2013. European champ in 2010.
Kevin LÓPEZ ESP 6/12/1990 1:43.74 o 1:45.69 2-time Euro Indoors medalist just won 6th Spanish national title in Feb.
Stepan POISTOGOV RUS 12/14/1986 1:46.02 o 1:46.53 Russian national champ this season.
Thijmen KUPERS NED 10/4/1991 1:46.46 o 1:46.70 Racked up 4th national title this season.
Jeremiah Kipkorir MUTAI KEN 12/27/1992 1:44.59 o 1:46.77 Former World Youth 400 hurdles silver medalist.
Musaeb Abdulrahman BALLA QAT 3/19/1989 1:43.93 o 1:46.82 Asian champ last summer.
Mark ENGLISH IRL 3/18/1993 1:44.84 o 1:46.82 20-year-old already has 2 national titles and set the indoor 800 NR in Feb.
Erik SOWINSKI USA 12/21/1989 1:45.21 o 1:46.84 Riding a high wave so far with a leg on the indoor WR 4 x 800 and then a 2nd national title in Albuquerque.
Nick SYMMONDS USA 12/30/1983 1:42.95 o 1:48.48 The silver medalist at Worlds last summer has also made 4 other global championship finals and has 7 US titles.
Mukhtar MOHAMMED GBR 12/1/1990 1:45.67 o 1:48.86
Kristinn Thór KRISTINSSON ISL 9/7/1989 1:51.22 1:51.22
Brice ETES MON 4/11/1984 1:47.03 o 1:52.14
Moussa CAMARA MLI 2/12/1988 1:46.38 o
Farkhod KURALOV TJK 10/18/1993 1:49.41 o
Saddam HUSSAIN PAK 6/24/1995 2:02.39 o
Tenirberdi SUIUNBAEV KGZ 9/5/1994
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The field is led without a doubt by the 20-year-old Ethiopian Aman. Last year, Aman rose up and took 100% advantage of the opportunity created when Olympic gold and silver medalists David Rudisha and Nijel Amos missed the outdoor season.

Aman had a season to be remembered as he won his last eleven 800s of the year. In 2014, he’s picked up right where he left off in 2013. He might even have moved to a new level in 2014.

Many of his victories in 2013 were somewhat narrow (Aman had to dig deep to beat Symmonds at 2013 Worlds – he won by .24 at Worlds).  In 2014, he’s won two 800s and a 600 and no one has finished within .44 of him. He’s the heavy gold medal favorite here. His 1:44.52 from earlier this winter makes him the third fastest man in indoor history (Wilson Kipketer has run 1:42.67 and Yuriy Borzakovskiy has run 1:44:15).

However, victory is far from assured for Aman for two reasons.

1) The 800 is inherently an unpredictable event and that’s particularly true indoors where only six guys make the final. You’ve got to be a heat winner in the prelims to make sure you are in the final.

2) 800 running in 2014 has been of VERY high quality.

Brit Andrew Osagie, a 2012 and 2013 800 finalist outdoors, has run 1:45.22 so far this year – putting him in the top 20 all-time of the event indoors but is only ranked #4 on the year.

The Poles will be rooting for Adam Kszczot. *More 2013 World Outdoor Photos

South Africa’s André Olivier is #2 on the 2014 World list at 1:44.99 (just the 16th man under 1:45 in history indoors).  2014 Poland champ Adam Kszczot hasn’t broken 1:45 this year but he’s #3 on the list at 1:45.19. Moreover, he’s excellent indoors as his indoor PR of 1:44.57 means he’s the 4th fastest man in history indoors. With the Polish crowd behind him, a heart-warming win by the 24-year-old isn’t inconceivable.

The other Polish entry Marcin Lewandowski is no slouch himself. Twice 4th at World Outdoors (2011 and 2013), he’s due for a global medal and was just .09 behind Kszczot at the Polish champs. Spain’s Kevin López has also broken 1:46 this year.

Given the fact we’ve already mentioned a bunch of names before getting to an American, it’s going to be tough for the two American entrants, Erik Sowinski and Nick Symmonds. to medal.

Sowinski is on his first US team after a convincing win at USAs. The problem is when he ran his 800 indoor PR of 1:46.84 earlier this year, he was just fourth in Germany – losing to Kszczot, Osagie, and López. In a 600 in Moscow, he lost to Aman, Kszczot, Bala, and Poistogov.

Nick Symmonds was fourth at the 2012 Olympics and 2nd at 2013 Worlds. A proven global competitor, he’s going to have to run way better than he has so far in 2014 to have a chance to medal. The good news for Symmonds fans is he was sick in Albuquerque at USAs. If he wasn’t sick, it would be hard to see him improving enough in just two weeks to contend here.

Quick Take #1: A great field. We can’t wait for this one.

Quick Take #2: A little history lesson. In the history of World Indoors, only one American-born (Bernard Lagat won two) non-drug cheat (Regina Jacobs won two) has won a gold medal in a mid-d or distance event. In 2003, David Krummenacker won gold in the 800.

LRC Prediction: We think Aman is going to have to fight for victory here as the Poles will be super-pumped. Fitness wins out in the end (remember Russia’s Mariya Savinova didn’t win 800 gold in Moscow last summer) and Aman is the champ. No USA medals but at least one medal for a Pole.

The 800 prelims are very important as only the heat winners automatically make the six-man final. Anyone in the final has a shot at a medal as half the final field gets one.