Men's 800m Heats - IAAF World Championships
Provided by IAAF
Reigning world and Olympic champion David Rudisha was a late withdrawal from the IAAF World Championships London 2017 due to a quad muscle strain but the Kenyan triumvirate on show were all comfortable heat winners.
His winning time was the second slowest of the day but Emmanuel Korir looked mightily impressive, sauntering through the fourth heat in 1:47.08. The 22-year-old hasn’t lost an individual race at any distance this year - heats included - and he will be looking to emulate his coach Paul Ereng - the 1988 Olympic 800m champion - by claiming a major title on his senior championship debut
Kipyegon Bett might not be the stylist of Rudisha but the 19-year-old is another highly vaunted prospect tipped to challenge for senior honours. The reigning world U20 champion opened proceedings by winning the first heat in 1:45.77 ahead of Sweden’s Andreas Kramer (1:45.98) and the much improved American Drew Windle, who moved from a distant sixth at the top of the home straight to finish third in 1:46.08.
The most experienced of the Kenyan contingent with Rudisha sidelined, world and Olympic finalist Ferguson Rotich was equally untroubled in the third heat, winning in 1:45.77.
With four sub-1:44 competitors drawn in a loaded sixth heat, a notable name was in danger of missing out on a semifinal place - even though there were six non-automatic qualifying places available.
Donavan Brazier took a gun-to-tape win in 1:45.65 with former world champion Mohammed Aman from Ethiopia running one of his best races in recent seasons - 1:45.81 for second - while Great Britain’s Guy Learmonth took third in 1:45.90, running Olympic finalist Marcin Lewandowski (1:46.17) and world bronze medallist Amel Tuka from Bosnia & Herzegovina (1:46.54) out of automatic qualifying.
Lewandowski scraped through as a fastest loser but Tuka was the highest profile casualty across the six heats.
Thijmen Kupers from the Netherlands was the fastest of the day from the second heat with 1:45.53 while Nijel Amos from Botswana won the fifth heat in 1:47.10 ahead of fellow medal contenders Pierre-Ambroise Bosse from France (1:47.25) and Poland’s Adam Kszczot (1:47.36).
Steven Mills for the IAAF