Runner looks set to inherit David Rudisha’s mantle after a blistering race in the semis
The race to take David Rudisha’s mantle at the Olympic Games is almost reaching the climax with Ferguson Rotich and Emmanuel Korir powering into the finals yesterday afternoon.
Rotich impressively won his Heat Three while Korir needed to dip his head across the line to ensure he finished second to pick one of only two automatic qualifying slots.
The third Kenyan in the semis, Michael Saruni, failed to make it into the final after finishing sixth in Heat Two.
He timed 1:44.54 in a heat won by Sudanese-turned-Australian Peter Bol who had a time of 1:44.11.
Rotich, the World 800m bronze medallist, once again ran the fastest time of 1:44.04 of the three semis.
Amel Tuka of Bosnia and Herzegovina was second in 1:44. 53 with Great Britain’s Giles Elliot finishing third in 1:44.74.
Rotich is clearly a man on a mission following his fastest time in the heats on Saturday where he ran the fastest time to secure qualification in the men’s 800m semi-final.
He stormed to a comfortable victory in 1:43.75, the fastest time outside an Olympic final.
The second semis witnessed drama with 2012 Olympic silver medalist Nijel Amos of Botswana clipping the heel of American Isaiah Jewett at the back straight, with both men missing the final and ending their Olympic hopes.
Reaching the finals for Korir was a much-needed reprieve following his disqualification in the men’s 400m on Sunday morning.
Korir hopes of clinching a double at the Tokyo Olympics have been quashed after he was disqualified for a false start in the men’s 400m preliminaries.
Korir was lining up in Heat Four alongside a strong field that included the reigning champion Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa and world silver medallist Anthony Zambrano of Colombia.
The race was stopped soon after the gun and it was Korir who was on the focus, agonisingly leaving the track escorted by the officials having seen red.
In the 800m race he timed 1:44.74 to finish behind Poland’s Patryk Dobek who clocked 1:44.60.
The men’s 800m final is set Wednesday at 3:05pm Kenyan time.