Preview: Men's 800M - IAAF World Championships

Preview: Men's 800M - IAAF World Championships

Provided by IAAF

World record-holder David Rudisha is back to active racing, but he has not been his dominant self lately. Does he have what it takes to regain his world crown?

A knee injury sidelined Rudisha for the best part of 2013, forcing him to forego his World Championships title defence in Moscow. Two years later, he is back to consistent racing. But with the Kenyan yet to break 1:43 this season, a number of other athletes are looking to make their mark.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Amel Tuka is the biggest discovery of the season. The 24-year-old, whose biggest achievement coming into 2015 was sixth place at the European Championships last August, has lowered his personal best by three-and-a-half seconds over a couple of months and now leads the world with the 1:42.51 he posted at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco.

Tuka, who works with Gianni Ghidini, coach of 2008 Olympic champion Wilfred Bungei, has strong chances to win the first ever World Championships medal for his country.

Botswana’s Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos, like Rudisha, was plagued by injuries in 2013, but he is approaching Beijing at full speed. This season, Amos has already won three IAAF Diamond League races and ran his third-fastest time ever, 1:42.66, to finish behind Tuka in Monaco.

Amos, who has defeated Rudisha in all of their encounters since the 2012 Olympics, is dangerous in both fast and slow tactical races.

Defending champion Mohammed Aman is dealing with many changes this year. Over the winter he moved overseas to Eugene to train with the Oregon Track Club. Even though the Ethiopian reportedly enjoys the new coaching and the new team environment, he is far from his dominant form of two years ago. With just five races and two victories under his belt so far, he is yet to dip under 1:43.

Another runner to watch out for is Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich. The 25-year-old beat Rudisha at the Kenyan Trials, registering 1:43.60. Rotich was fourth at the Commonwealth Games and at the African Championships last year, while his World Championships campaign in Moscow two years ago was ended by disqualification in the semi-final for a lane infringement.

Elena Dyachkova for the IAAF