Men’s 800: Nijel Amos looks terrific, blasts 1:43.18 world leader
With 11 men in the field (plus a rabbit), the pace needed to be quick up front to avoid any logjams, and Nijel Amos, running on the same track where he earned his Olympic silver medal in 2012, wasted no time as he was right on rabbit Bram Som from the gun. Behind him, Donavan Brazier also got out well and after a cautious opening 100 Asbel Kiprop ran aggressively on the backstretch to move into fourth. Brazier was right where he wanted to be in second place at the bell (49.58 for Som, 49.7 for Amos, 50.0 for Brazier). The quick pace meant that the field was already strung out by this point and on the backstretch, Amos, Brazier and Asbel Kiprop had separated from everyone else.
Brazier moved into position on Amos’ shoulder at 600 meters (1:16.67) and was in a perfect position to move by him, just as he blasted past Erik Sowinski to win the U.S. title last month. But Amos is much better than Sowinski, and though Brazier almost managed to draw level with the Botswanan around the final turn, he had already used his move while Amos still had more in the tank. Down the homestretch, Amos pulled away for a comfortable victory in a world-leading 1:43.18 and the order behind him remained unchanged as Brazier was second in 1:43.95 — the #2 time of his career — and Kiprop took third in 1:44.43. Sowinski bounced back well from the TrackTown Summer Series final on Thursday to take third in 1:44.82 while British champ Elliot Giles broke 1:45 for the first time in his life and punched his ticket to Worlds by taking fourth in 1:44.99.
Quick Take: David Rudisha, are you worried yet?
The men’s 800 is going to be very interesting at Worlds. David Rudisha, the greatest 800 runner of all time, is the defending world/Olympic champ, but he has not been in terrific form this year (though he did run a season’s best of 1:44.90 to win in Hungary on Tuesday). Amos, meanwhile, just won his second Diamond League race in the span of nine days and he looked incredible doing it. He’s now gone from 1:45.74 to 1:44.24 to 1:43.18 in his last three races, all victories, and appears to be peaking at the right time in his first year under Mark Rowland in the Oregon Track Club.
Rudisha’s past accomplishments have earned him some leeway, but Amos has always raced against Rudisha very well; in fact, he owns a 6-2 career record against the Kenyan. We should point out, however, that the only two times they’ve met at a global championship (2012 Olympic final, 2015 World Champs semis), Rudisha has won the race.
Quick Take: If Worlds go like this, Donavan Brazier is a medal threat
Brazier is most comfortable running in second with a fast guy in front of him, and Amos’ strategy played perfectly into his hands today. Amos, a 1:41 guy, was too good for Brazier today, but if he runs like he did today, Donavan Brazier will beat a lot of guys when he returns to London next month.
Chances are that Brazier will face at least one slower race, whether it’s in the prelims, semis, or final itself. But if he can survive that, he could contend for a medal.
Quick Take: Props to Erik Sowinski for overcoming the 1:45 barrier twice in the span of four days
Sowinski’s PR of 1:44.58 dates to 2014, but this year it looked as if he hit a roadblock at 1:45.00 as he ran 1:45 in five of his first six races but never faster. In fact, prior to Thursday, he had broken 1:45 just twice in his life. Now he’s run 1:44 twice in four days as he did it in New York on Thursday and again today in London.
Quick Take: A PR parade for the Brits
Five British men lined up for this race and four of them set personal bests, with all five hitting the IAAF standard of 1:45.90. Elliot Giles and Guy Learmonth were 1-2 at the British Trials, so they’re guaranteed to run at Worlds. Kyle Langford was third in that race and with Jake Wightman likely gaining selection in the 1500, Langford is the leading contender to grab the third spot in the 800.
QT: Not a Bad Run for Kiprop, He’s Got A Month to Get Ready for Worlds