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2008 Olympic Games Beijing - Men's 800 m

 

 

Host City: Beijing, China Format: Top two in each heat and next two fastest advanced to the final.
Date Started: August 20, 2008 Format: Top two in each heat and next eight fastest advanced to the semi-finals
Date Finished: August 23, 2008  
(Competitors: 58; Countries: 42; Finalists: 8)  
    Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Overview by IAAF    2008_olympic_stadium.jpg
Veteran Bungei (1:44.90) was the fastest in the heats, and won a tactical first semi-final from which reigning champion Borzakovskiy was eliminated. The second semi-final was faster, with World Champion Yego edging Ismail (1:44.91 for both men) and Kamel (1:44.95), the only sub 1:43 man in 2008 to qualify. Unheralded Manseur was a clear winner in of final semi in 1:45.54. Bungei led from the gun in the final, zipping past 200m in 25.1 before easing down to the halfway point (53.35). Bungei then wound the pace up, covering the next 200 in 25.82, never letting anyone pass him, before finishing off with a 25.48 split. Ismail and López were threatening Bungei with 100m to go, but the Cuban faded, and only Ismail could get close. Behind them Kirwa finished quickly to take the bronze medal, though Reed (12.1 last 100) was the fastest finisher of all.
       
Summary by Sports-reference.com      
The rounds and semis of the 800 were contested with only two runners advancing automatically, which made the qualifying rounds quite competitive. Not making it to the finals were the defending champion Yury Borzakovsky (RUS), the 2004 silver medalist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (RSA), and 2008 world list leader Abubaker Kaki Khamis (SUD). The favorites in the final were Kenyans Alfred Kirwa Yego, the 2007 World Champion, and Wilfred Bungei. The two ran a team race to control the race from the front. The pace was not fast on the first lap, with Bungei leading thru 400 in 53.35, Yego on his shoulder. Bungei gradually increased the pace on the final lap, and Sudan's Ismail Ahmed Ismail moved up on the backstretch to take second, Yego holding third. Bungei and Ismail would hold those positions thru the tape to win gold and silver, Ismail's silver the first ever Olympic medal for Sudan. On the final straight, Saad Kamel (BRN) pulled into third but Yego managed to fight back and get the bronze medal.
 

Records

Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows:

World record  Wilson Kipketer (DEN) 1:41.11 Cologne, Germany 24 August 1997
Olympic record  Vebjørn Rodal (NOR) 1:42.58 Atlanta, United States 31 July 1996

No new world or Olympic records were set for this event.

Qualification

Each National Olympic Committee (NOC) was able to enter up to three entrants providing they had met the A qualifying standard (1:46.00) in the qualifying period (1 January 2007 to 23 July 2008). NOCs were also permitted to enter one athlete providing he had met the B standard (1:47.00) in the same qualifying period.
 
        Results        

The Men's 800 metres at the 2008 Summer Olympics took place from 20–23 August at the Beijing National Stadium. The final on 23 August resulted in a triumph for Kenyan runner Wilfred Bungei in an official time of 1:44.65. The qualifying standards were 1:46.00 (A standard) and 1:47.00 (B standard).

Along the way to the final, defending champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy was eliminated as his fast closing tactics didn't get him into a qualifying place or time. In the final, most of the field got off fairly evenly, with Ismail Ahmed Ismail showing the least interest in joining the pack of seven. By 200 metres, Wilfred Bungei, wearing sunglasses in the Beijing night, had found his way to the lead with his Kenyan teammate Alfred Kirwa Yego protecting him on his shoulder. Ismail joined the back of the pack and without leaving the rail, almost casually worked his way to being a step behind Bungei at the end of the first lap. Bungei and the field accelerated on the back stretch with Ismail staying on the rail running into a box inside of Yego. As Yego faltered through the final turn, Yeimer López ran around him into the perfect strategic position, still leaving Ismail boxed into no-mans land. Coming off the turn, Ismail simply ran faster and ran out of the trap, López was out of gas. Bungei took off into a sprint with his right arm flapping, opening up two metres on Ismail, who drifted out to lane 2 for clear running. Ten metres before the finish, Bungei let up and coasted over the finish line, Ismail tried to pass, dipping at the line but Bungei's lead was just enough to hold onto gold. In the final rush for bronze, Kenyan mercenary running for Bahrain Yusuf Saad Kamel looked to have the edge, but Yego moved out to lane 3 to avoid López and run down Kamel. With a final rush, Gary Reed caught Kamel at the line, still a step behind Yego.

Men's 800m - FINAL

 

Since emerging as one of the finest 800m runners in the world nearly a decade ago, major titles eluded Wilfred Bungei. But tonight, propelled by the vast experience he’s compiled, the Kenyan flag-bearer captured the Olympic 800m title.

He did it without any second guessing, without panicking. Finding himself in the lead at the break, he simply went with what the race handed him. With his sterling determined run, he was never headed as he crossed the line in 1:44.65.

“That is why I broke down a little when I crossed the line,” said Bungei, who became the third Kenyan to win the Olympic title after Paul Ereng (1988) and William Tanui (1992). “I came here not knowing exactly what I was going to do. It’s been so elusive for me to get a medal. In spite of the fact that I’ve been one of the best for a long time, especially when you compare 2001 until now. It’s been tough. And to at the end of the day, to win, was just amazing.”

Indeed, Bungei has been among the event’s elite since taking World championships silver in 2001, and was the fastest in the world in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The Olympic title eluded him in 2004 in Athens where he finished fifth, and again at the 2005 and 2007 World championships where he finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Bungei said he had no pre-race plan to follow. Making plans that don’t pan out, he said, leads to panic, and ultimately defeat. “I found myself in front, and I said, ‘Ok, lets go.’ ”

At the break, he and teammate Alfred Kirwa Yego, the World champion, ran virtually stride-for-stride, with Yego on the outside. Behind them, Algerians Nabil Madi and Nadjim Manseur followed. When Bungei reached the bell in 53.35, Sudan’s Ismail Ahmed Ismail and Cuban Yeimer Lopez joined the front of the pack; the Sudanese moved into second with 200m to go, seemingly poised to attack for the lead down the homestretch.

But the assault never came. Bungei fiercely held his ground to hold off Ismail, who managed to narrow the gap slightly over final few strides to stop the clock in 1:44.70. Yego produced a solid closing effort of his own, moving from fifth the third over the final 50 metres to take the bronze in 1:44.82.

Canadian Gary Reed, who barely qualified from each of the first two rounds, looked strongest of all during the homestretch dash, but left himself too much ground to cover, and finished fifth in 1:44.94.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF

800 m Men     Final 23 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.44.65     Wilfred Bungei Kenya KEN 24 Jul 80  
2 1.44.70     Ahmad Ismail Sudan SUD 10 Sep 84  
3 1.44.82     Alfred Kirwa Yego Kenya KEN 28 Nov 86  
4 1.44.94     Gary Reed Canada CAN 25 Oct 81  
5 1.44.95     Youssef Saad Kamel Bahrain BRN 29 Mar 81  
6 1.45.88     Yeimer López Cuba CUB 28 Aug 82  
7 1.45.96     Nabil Madi Algeria ALG 9 Jun 81  
8 1.47.19     Nadim Mansour Algeria ALG 8 Jun 88  

Splits

Intermediate Athlete Country Mark
400m Wilfred Bungei  Kenya 53.35
600m Wilfred Bungei  Kenya 1:19.17

Men's 800m - Semi-Finals

 

The merciless 800m semisthe toptwo from each of the three heats moved on automatically to Saturday (23) evening’s final - claimed two pre-Olympic medal favourites, one with perhaps the most international racing experience, and the other with the least.

The first race pitted reigning Olympic champion Yuriy Borakovskiy against perennial speedster Wifred Bungei, the Kenyan team captain, and this year’s Cuban breakout talent, Yeimar Lopez. The Kenyan and Cuban ran at the front over the first lap, with Borzakovskiy joining at the bell, which sounded as Bungei crossed in a dangerously slow 54.32.

American champion Nick Symmonds joined the leaders midway through the backstretch, with the Cuban fading back a step. The pace quickened as the pack headed into the final turn, but with Bungei maintaining control and Borzakovskiy on his shoulder.

Bungei held on to win in 1:46.23 with Borzakovskiy poised to follow his Kenyan colleague and friend across the line. But Lopez took the opportunity to put his closing strength on display to the world. The tall 26-year-old moved smoothly and powerfully from fifth off the final bend, passing the Russian to finish second in 1:46.40, with the defending champion another 0.13 seconds behind.

After seeing the Cuban cross before him, the Russian closed his eyes, covered them with hands clasped in prayer, and waited.

But he didn’t have to wait too long.

In a much faster (51.02 at 400m) second heat, World champion Alfred Kirwa Yego moved to the front just before entering the final turn, running much more relaxed than in yesterday’s opening round. Reigning silver medallist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was just behind on the outside, with Yusuf Saad Kamel on the inside.

The first casualty of the race was Mulaudzi, who lost contact with about 250 to go, while Yego went on to win in 1:44.73, the fastest time of the evening. Sudan’s Ismail Ahmed Ismail accelerated through the bend to finish second in 1:44.91, just ahead of Kamel (1:44.95), who also advanced. Further back in fourth, Nadjem Manseur clocked 1:45.54 to definitively knock Borzakovskiy out of the final.

Heat three featured World indoor champion and world leader Abubaker Kaki, and from the outset it was clear that the teenager was in trouble. Never finding his rhythm over the first lap and simply running of steam over the second, his first Olympics ended on a sour note as he eventually faded to last.

In the interim, Algerian Nabil Madi controlled the tempo, bringing the field through 400 in 52.24 and 600 in just under 1:20. Behind him, with the exception of Kaki, the pack was still tight. Madi held on to win in 1:46.63, with Osaka silver medallist Gary Reed, better positioned than he was in the first round from which he barely qualified, taking second in 1:45.85. He barely edged Kenyan Boaz Lalang, whose 1:45.87 fell about two-tenths of a second shy of moving him on to the final.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF

800 m Men     Semifinal 1 21 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.46.23   Q Wilfred Bungei Kenya KEN 24 Jul 80  
2 1.46.40   Q Yeimer López Cuba CUB 28 Aug 82  
3 1.46.53     Yuriy Borzakovskiy Russia RUS 12 Apr 81  
4 1.46.74     Amine Laâlou Morocco MAR 13 May 82  
5 1.46.96     Nick Symmonds United States USA 30 Dec 83  
6 1.47.14     Mohammed Al-Salhi Saudi Arabia KSA 11 May 86  
7 1.47.24     Marcin Lewandowski Poland POL 13 Jun 87  
8 1.47.65     Mohamed Mutlak Al-Azimi Kuwait KUW 16 Jun 82  
800 m Men     Semifinal 2 21 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.44.73   Q Alfred Kirwa Yego Kenya KEN 28 Nov 86  
2 1.44.91   Q Ahmad Ismail Sudan SUD 10 Sep 84  
3 1.44.95   Q Youssef Saad Kamel Bahrain BRN 29 Mar 81  
4 1.45.54   Q Nadim Mansour Algeria ALG 8 Jun 88  
5 1.46.08     Sadjad Moradi Iran IRI 30 Mar 83  
6 1.46.24     Mbulaeni Mulaudzi South Africa RSA 8 Sep 80  
7 1.46.40     Antonio Manuel Reina Spain ESP 13 Jun 81  
8 1.47.07     Fabiano Peçanha Brazil BRA 5 Jun 82  
800 m Men     Semifinal 3 21 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.45.63   Q Nabil Madi Algeria ALG 9 Jun 81  
2 1.45.85   Q Gary Reed Canada CAN 25 Oct 81  
3 1.45.87     Boaz Lalang Kenya KEN 8 Feb 89  
4 1.45.91     Manuel Olmedo Spain ESP 17 May 83  
5 1.46.37     Bilal Mansour Ali Bahrain BRN 17 Oct 83  
6 1.48.07     Michael Rimmer Great Britain GBR 3 Feb 86  
7 1.49.16     Abraham Chepkirwok Uganda UGA 18 Nov 88  
8 1.49.19     Abubaker Kaki Sudan SUD 21 Jun 89  

Men's 800m - Round 1

With just the first two in each heat automatically moving on to tomorrow’s semi-finals, the first round of the men’s 800m featured eight scrappy contests. And looking the best, for the moment, was defending champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy.

The first heat, featuring Borzakovskiy and Kenyan team captain Wilfred Bungei, was also the fastest – by far. Iranian national record holder Ehsan Hohajershojaei brought the field through the first lap in 50.89, with the Russian and Kenyan following closely, side-by-side in positions three and four. Bungei went to the front with 200m to go, with Borzakovskiy on his shoulder. The order remained as they crossed the line, Bungei in 1:44.90 and Borza in 1:45.15.

“It was faster than I thought it would be, but that’s ok,” said Bungei, the 2006 World indoor champion.

While the first heat set the tone time-wise for the rest, few chose to follow suit, leading to a slew of physical homestretch clashes.

Heat two went to world leader Abubaker Kaki. The Sudanese teenager who has electrified the event this season since his gun-to-tape victory at the World indoor championships, predictably ran in a similar fashion. He fended off all would-be challengers en route to his 1:46.98 win, including Saudi Mohammed Al-Salhi’s (1:47.02) late race challenge. Borzakovskiy’s training partner Dmitriy Bogdanov, who threatened early on, lost ground on the leaders and finished third in 1:47.49, and didn’t advance.

“It’s nice to race again,” said Kaki, whose 1:42.69 World junior record in Oslo was the world’s fastest performance in five years. “There were no problems. I have confidence,” he said. “Sure.”

The fourth heat, featuring Alfred Kirwa Yego of Kenya proved to be a solid first round test for the World champion. Eduard Villanueva of Venezuela brought the field through a modest 53.08, with U.S. champion Nick Symmonds and Yego behind him in second and third. Antonio Manuel Reina of Spain worked his way into the leading group as they headed into the final bend, pushing Kirwa back into third. Symmonds held on for the 1:446.01 victory while Yego, forced to run very wide off the final curve, managed to work his way out of the group to take second in 1:46.04. Reina (1:46.30) also moved on based on time.

“This is exactly what I wanted,” said Symmonds. “I haven’t raced in seven weeks. I had to re-accelerate and it was nice to know that I had that kick. I’ll need it tomorrow.”

Said Yego, “It was very tough, but I think tomorrow will be toughest. It’s going to be very competitive. I struggled a little bit and had to work harder than I thought.”

Cuban Yeimar Lopez, another of this season’s breakouts, won a hotly contested Heat 8 after a strong homestretch battle with Kenyan Boaz Lalang, 1:45.66 to 1:45.72. The next four, including 1500m finalist Belal Mansoor Ali of Bahrain.

Heat five went to Spaniard Manuel Olmedo who took a solid victory in 1:45.78 with Sudanese Ismail Ahmed Ismail (1:45.87) next. Canadian Gary Reed, who was disappointed with his performance, will have a chance to redeem himself in the semi after moving on based on time (1:46.02).

The slow pace made heat seven the most dramatic, with a careful photo reading needed to sort out the first three. In the closest of finishes,  Mohammad Al-Azemi of Kuwait, Bahraini Yusuf Saad Kamel and Dutchman Robert Lathouwers crossed the line in 1:46.94. After what must have been the longest 70 seconds of their lives, it was determined that the Dutchman would be left out of the final. Relieved but quiet, Kamel, a sub-1:43 man this year, refused to speak after the race.

Advancing from Heat 3, the second slowest of the night, were Briton Michael Rimmer (1:47.61) and defending silver medallist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa (1:47.66), both of whom overtook Pole Pawel Czapiewski, who led for much of the race only to finish third just 0.02 second behind and failing to advance.

The slowest heat of the night was the sixth, won by Amine Laalou of Morocco in 1:47.86, ahead of Ugandan record holder Abraham Chepkirwok (1:47.93).

As Yego and Symmonds pointed out, Thursday’s (21) semis will be fierce. Only the first two from each of the three heats qualify, plus the next two fastest.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF

800 m Men     Heat 1 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.44.90   Q Wilfred Bungei Kenya KEN 24 Jul 80  
2 1.45.15   Q Yuriy Borzakovskiy Russia RUS 12 Apr 81  
3 1.45.62     Nadim Mansour Algeria ALG 8 Jun 88  
4 1.46.54     Fabiano Peçanha Brazil BRA 5 Jun 82  
5 1.47.66     Thomas Chamney Ireland IRL 16 Apr 84  
6 1.49.19     Lachlan Renshaw Australia AUS 4 Feb 87  
7 1.49.25     Ehsan Mohajer Shojaei Iran IRI 21 Mar 83  
800 m Men     Heat 2 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.46.98   Q Abubaker Kaki Sudan SUD 21 Jun 89  
2 1.47.02   Q Mohammed Al-Salhi Saudi Arabia KSA 11 May 86  
3 1.47.49     Dmitriy Bogdanov Russia RUS 11 Apr 79  
4 1.47.89     Onalenna Baloyi Botswana BOT 6 May 84  
5 1.48.64     Jozef Repčík Slovakia SVK 3 Aug 86  
6 1.49.39     Leonardo Price Argentina ARG 21 Feb 79  
800 m Men     Heat 3 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.47.61   Q Michael Rimmer Great Britain GBR 3 Feb 86  
2 1.47.64   Q Mbulaeni Mulaudzi South Africa RSA 8 Sep 80  
3 1.47.66     Paweł Czapiewski Poland POL 30 Mar 78  
4 1.48.06     Miguel Quesada Spain ESP 18 Sep 79  
5 1.48.44     Li Xiangyu China CHN 21 Oct 85  
6 1.48.96     Vitalij Kozlov Lithuania LTU 5 Mar 87  
7 1.50.67     Samuel Mwera Chegere Tanzania TAN 3 Jun 85  
800 m Men     Heat 4 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.46.01   Q Nick Symmonds United States USA 30 Dec 83  
2 1.46.04   Q Alfred Kirwa Yego Kenya KEN 28 Nov 86  
3 1.46.30     Antonio Manuel Reina Spain ESP 13 Jun 81  
4 1.46.59     Andy González Cuba CUB 17 Oct 87  
5 1.46.75     Mohcine Chehibi Morocco MAR 28 Jan 78  
6 1.47.64     Eduard Villanueva Venezuela VEN 29 Dec 84  
7 1.52.06     Nguyen Dinh Cuong Vietnam VIE 10 Apr 82  
8 1.57.48     Derek Mandell Guam GUM 18 Sep 86  
800 m Men     Heat 5 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.45.78   Q Manuel Olmedo Spain ESP 17 May 83  
2 1.45.87   Q Ahmad Ismail Sudan SUD 10 Sep 84  
3 1.46.02     Gary Reed Canada CAN 25 Oct 81  
4 1.47.12     Dmitrijs Miļkevičs Latvia LAT 6 Dec 81  
5 1.47.42     Samson Ngoepe South Africa RSA 28 Jan 85  
6 1.47.45     Aunese Curreen Samoa SAM 23 Dec 85 NR
7 1.57.43     Souleymane Ould Chebal Mauritania MTN 31 Dec 86  
800 m Men     Heat 6 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.47.86   Q Amine Laâlou Morocco MAR 13 May 82  
2 1.47.93   Q Abraham Chepkirwok Uganda UGA 18 Nov 88  
3 1.48.19     Jakub Holuša Czech Republic CZE 20 Feb 88  
4 1.48.20     Christian Smith United States USA 31 Oct 83  
5 1.48.53     Kléberson Davide Brazil BRA 20 Jul 85  
6 1.48.87     Achraf Tadili Canada CAN 8 Jul 80  
7 1.50.57     Fadrique Iglesias Bolivia BOL 12 Oct 80  
8 1.54.82     Mohammed Ahmed Al-Yafaee Yemen YEM 6 Oct 84  
800 m Men     Heat 7 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.46.94   Q Mohamed Mutlak Al-Azimi Kuwait KUW 16 Jun 82  
2 1.46.94   Q Youssef Saad Kamel Bahrain BRN 29 Mar 81  
3 1.46.94     Robert Lathouwers Netherlands NED 8 Jul 83  
4 1.47.05     Andrew Wheating United States USA 21 Nov 87  
5 1.47.50     Abdoulaye Wagne Senegal SEN 30 Jan 81  
6 1.48.19     Aldwyn Sappleton Jamaica JAM 21 Dec 81  
7 1.50.54     Sergey Pakura Kyrgyzstan KGZ 3 May 83  
800 m Men     Heat 8 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.45.66   Q Yeimer López Cuba CUB 28 Aug 82  
2 1.45.72   Q Boaz Lalang Kenya KEN 8 Feb 89  
3 1.45.75   Q Nabil Madi Algeria ALG 9 Jun 81  
4 1.45.89   Q Marcin Lewandowski Poland POL 13 Jun 87  
5 1.45.95   Q Bilal Mansour Ali Bahrain BRN 17 Oct 83  
6 1.46.10   Q Sadjad Moradi Iran IRI 30 Mar 83  
7 1.46.88     Yassine Bensghir Morocco MAR 3 Jan 83  
8 1.47.20     Mikko Lahtio Finland FIN 21 Sep 84  

 

 

 

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