Best Race Of Worlds?!: Mohammed Aman Comes From Behind To Win His 15th Straight 800 And Says Bring On Rudisha

Ergo Arena goes bonkers as Poles Kszczot and Lewandowski go for gold and cross line second and third

March 9, 2014

Sopot, Poland – Make no mistake about it. With David Rudisha injured, Mohammed Aman is the best 800-meter man in the world.

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In front of a sold-out crowd that was rooting wildly for two Polish hopes, 2013 World 800 champion Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia came from behind and delivered as the favorite and won the men’s 800 in 1:46.40. Poland’s Adam Kszczot was second in 1:46.76 and his fellow countryman Marcin Lewandowski initially crossed the line third in 1:47.09 – just .01 ahead of Brit Andrew Osagie – to send the crowd into a frenzy.

After the race was over and the on the track celebrating was over, Lewandowski was disqualified for stepping over the rail on the last turn and Osagie was upgraded to bronze.

Men’s 800 Results
1   180     Mohammed Aman   ETH     1:46.40
2   309     Adam Kszczot    POL     1:46.76
3   206     Andrew Osagie   GBR     1:47.10
4   337     André Olivier   RSA     1:47.31
5   286     Thijmen Kupers  NED     1:47.74
DQ     Marcin Lewandowski  POL     DQ R163.3(b)Split times
200m 24.96 Thijmen Kupers NETHERLANDS NED
400m 53.29 Thijmen Kupers NETHERLANDS NED
600m 1:20.57 Marcin Lewandowski POLAND POL
The Final Straight

The Final Straight

Post-Race Thought #1: WHAT A RACE.

Every championship needs it’s signature moment(s) whether it’s Michael Johnson getting two WRs in Atlanta in 1996, Mo Farah getting two golds in London (plus Rudisha’s WR), or two Poles crossing the finish line 2-3 in the men’s 800 here.

TV doesn’t do some races justice and this was one of them. The atmosphere for this race in the stadium both before during and after was ELECTRIC AND MAGICAL. The race itself also was a blast to watch. The first 100 was breathtaking. Aman wanted the lead – the only problem was so did a lot of other guys. The guys were flying – we had them in an unofficial hand time of 11.9 (note – we were on the opposite end of the stadium so that may not be accurate). After that, there were a slew of lead changes as there might be little better in track and field than the back and forth that takes place in an indoor 800. Then the two Poles both went for it and were  in perfect position, 1-2 at the bell. Wow. Kszczot kept the lead until the final straight. And then Aman worked his magic showing he is the best 800m right now on the planet.

Post Race Thought #2: Aman Delivers as the Favorite and Makes It Fifteen Straight

Aman for Gold

Aman for Gold

The 2013 World Outdoor and 2014 World Indoor champion has now won 15 800 races in a row. Very impressive.

Man, did he deserve the gold here. Winning a race as a long shot and winning it as a favorite are two totally different things. The favorite isn’t running for a medal and just hoping to move up to gold if everything works perfectly. Often as a result they have to do way more work. That certainly was true here. Aman went out very hard trying to get the pole but couldn’t get it. As they approached 400, he found himself towards the back so he went wide out into lane 3 and made a big move up towards the front. But he didn’t quite get up there and came back inside to the middle of the pack on the turn.

One of our favorite maxims about track is, “You’ve only got one move in the 800.” If we were coaching Aman, we would have wanted him to keep going all the way to the front even if he had to keep running wide, but Aman is so darn good, it didn’t matter in the end. It looked like he might get boxed in on the backstretch of the final lap, but champions find a way to win. Aman is so good, he’s got more than one move in a 1:46 race.

Indoors or out, heading into the last 100, Aman always looks like he’s working very hard and normally not in the lead, but yet when the final 100 is over, he’s separated himself from everyone else and crossing the line in  first. The same was true tonight as he went from 3rd to 1st.

Post Race Thought #3: Aman says bring on Rudisha

Heading into 2013, one of the things we were most excited to see was David Rudisha try to keep firm grasp of his dominance of the event as it was clear that Aman (he only officially turned 20 in January of this yea) and 2012 Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos (he turns 20 on Saturday, March 15) were special talents as well. Remember Aman beat Rudisha in the last race of both 2011 and 2012.

With no global championships outdoors the rest of the year, let’s hope we get to see the three of them clash a few times when all of them are on top of their game. They owe it to the sport to not avoid each other and clash if healthy.

Let one thing be clear – there is no doubt – Aman wants to race Rudisha. He won’t be avoiding anyone.

Afterwards, we asked Aman whether he’d like to take on Rudisha.

Aman said he definitely would. “Yeah, sure (I want to race him),” said Aman. “I’m sorry for him (about his injury), but I’ve beat him two times so why not again? If I train heard, anything is possible.”

We asked Aman who should be considered the favorite considering Aman’s 15 race win streak.

Aman didn’t take the bait. “I don’t know,” he said with a laugh.

It was clear in talking to Aman and his agent that they are very confident in his ability. His agent said that when Aman lost to Rudisha at the beginning of 2013, his management team had begged him not to run as he was very sick and throwing up prior to the race.

We can’t wait for Aman vs. Rudisha in 2014.

Adam Kszczot Celebrates Silver

Adam Kszczot Celebrates Silver

Post Race Thought #4: Adam Kszczot is a force indoors.

The Pole put up a great fight and almost gave Poland the gold medal the nation craved on the track (they won a gold in the women’s high jump). At 24, this is actually his second World Indoor medal as he won bronze at age 20 in 2010 (4th in 2012). He’s also won two European indoor golds.

Was he satisfied? Not completely.

“Yes and no,” said Kszczot when asked if he was pleased with the result. “I’m happy with my result although I was fighting for gold (and I was) and it is silver (that I ended up with). It’s also no, because for years, we’ve been writing Polish history in track and field with Marcin and part of that euphoria we’ve could have enjoyed together was taken away from us today.”

Post Race Thought #5: Osagie Medals Despite Poor Tactics

A well deserved first global medal for Britian’s Andrew Osagie. Coming into this meet, he was basically a British version of Nick Symmonds prior to Moscow – very, very good but just not quite as good as the medallists.  If anyone deserved a break to get on the medal stand,  it was probably him.

Osagie was happy to medal but not thrilled with the way it came about or how he raced and called the whole episode “bittersweet”.

“Tactically, I didn’t think I ran very well today. I think I’m very, very lucky to be in the position I’m in today,” said Osagie at the post-race press conference.

“It’s very, very difficult (to get the medal this way). I knew what I saw and obviously the tenhical staff (for UK Athletics) saw it (also), but I’ve been good friends with Marcin a long time. It’s bittersweet really. “

“I’m not in the happiest of moods to pick it (the medal) up today.”

Let one thing be clear. Lewandowski did step over the rail. What’s interesting though is that Osagie said he saw Lewandowski step over the rail on the final turn while he was racing and was even cognizant enough to think at the time in the race that if he could finish 4th, he might medal.

Osagie rallied hard late in this super-tight race (just .98 separated second from last) and came up along the rail in the homestretch and almost caught Lewandowski fair and square as the officials reviewed the finish photo for a good while before putting Lewandowki up in third initially by .01.

When Lewandowski was posted as the bronze medallist, the crowd went absolutely bonkers. When more than an hour later they announced the DQ, the crowd didn’t react too much – we thought they were going to be boo but handled it very well.

Silver and Bronze for a Little Bit for Poland

Silver and Bronze for a Little Bit for Poland

Post Race Thought #6: A heartbreaking DQ for Lewandowski.

Actually, we take that back about Osagie being the guy most deserving of a medal. The man on the global stage ‘most deserving’ of a medal if such a thing exists has to be Lewandowski. Twice 4th at World Outdoors (2011 and 2013 Worlds), he finally gets top three and at home – only to be DQd later. The one good thing about it is while the officials can erase the result, no one can take the special moments he experienced away from him – the race in front of a rocking Ergo Arena, the victory lap and the post-race tv interviews as a bronze medalist.

More: More DQ drama – Poland’s Lewandowski is DQd – Britain’s Andrew Osagie elevated to bronze !!!

Men’s 800 Press Conference Video

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