World Champs Men’s 800 — Third Time’s The Charm

After coming up short in ’17 (800) and ’19 (400), Emmanuel Korir picked off gold this time around. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

THE OLYMPIC CHAMPION last year, Emmanuel Korir hadn’t shown great form yet in ’22. He had only won one 2-lapper, a minor affair in France, and sported a season best of just 1:45.85. That, however, didn’t stop the 27-year-old Kenyan from capturing the gold in 1:43.71.

With no overwhelming favorite, many experts tabbed this 2-lapper as the most unpredictable of the races in Eugene. Only one thing could be counted on: with none of the 4 U.S. entries making it out of round 1, the only Americans making a difference would be the ones in the crowd.

Defending champion Donavan Brazier ran only 1:46.72 for 6th in his heat, then announced a surgery date for the following week. Bryce Hoppel never recovered from a shove near the 600 mark and ran 1:46.98 for 5th in his. Brandon Miller also scored a 5th in 1:47.29. The only (brief) bright spot came from Jonah Koech, finishing 2nd in 1:44.62, only to be DQed for shoving.

The fastest heat went to Canada’s formchart favorite Marco Arop in 1:44.56. The fastest semi to Algeria’s Slimane Moula in 1:44.89. Korir won his rounds comfortably in 1:49.05 and 1:45.38.

For the final, Moula made an agreement with his teammate, Djemal Sejati, to follow the Kenyans. He immediately threw that out the window and charged to the front, leading for the first 300. Then Mississippi State alum Arop took over the tight pack, leading through 400 in 52.04, followed by Olympic finalist Gabriel Tual of France in 52.13.

Korir cruised through in mid-pack at 52.29, content to wait while teammate Wycliffe Kinyamal made a big move on the backstretch to challenge the leader.

The Canadian hung on to the lead, passing 600 in 1:17.55. That’s when Korir started sprinting from 4th. Past Tual and past Kinyamal quickly, but it took until 70 to go for his long stride to catch Arop. Korir built a 3-meter lead by the time he crossed the line victorious. Arop gamely hung on but was edged just before the line for silver by Sejati, 1:44.14–1:44.28.

Korir split 51.42 for his final lap and 25.82 for the last 200. The ’17 NCAA champ indoors and out for UTEP, he joins
WR holder David Rudisha as the only men to win 800 gold at both the Olympics and Worlds. In his previous Worlds appearances he failed to make the ’17 final, then competed at 400 in ’19, placing 6th.

“It was tough,” admitted Korir. “I was expecting a faster race, but I won and I am very happy for this result. I knew there were some guys close behind me in the last 100m. I was expecting someone to come, but no one did. It’s like magic. I have been working for this. It’s been a long wait. I failed in 2017 and 2019 and I made it now.”

Sejati, the Mediterranean Games champion with a PR of 1:43.69, said, “I am happy for me and Algeria. This is a breakthrough; I wanted gold but I am thankful to God and also to the fact that one of us Algerians won a medal. I am a bit disappointed. [My teammate] changed his tactics and went out harder.”

Arop had no regrets about setting the pace: “I knew if I left it to the last 150m, I would have had some trouble closing. I tried to make my move early and take some people out of the race. In the last 100, I just wanted to leave it all out there and feel I had nothing else in the tank. I gave it my all.”


MEN’S 800 RESULTS

FINAL (July 23)

(temperature 77F/25C; humidity 43%)

1. Emmanuel Korir (Ken) 1:43.71

(25.25, 27.04 [52.29], 25.60 [1:17.89], 25.82) (52.29/51.42);

2. Djamel Sejati (Alg) 1:44.14

(25.36, 27.24 [52.60], 25.69 [1:18.29], 25.85) (52.60/51.54);

3. Marco Arop (Can) 1:44.28

(25.11, 26.93 [52.04], 25.51 [1:17.55], 26.73);

4. Emmanuel Wanyonyi (Ken) 1:44.54

(25.51, 27.12 [52.63], 25.92 [1:18.55], 25.99) (52.63/51.91);

5. Slimane Moula (Alg) 1:44.85

(24.95, 27.22 [52.17], 26.18 [1:18.35], 26.50) (52.17/52.68);

6. Gabriel Tual (Fra) 1:45.49

(24.96, 27.17 [52.13], 25.71 [1:17.84], 27.65) (52.13/53.36);

7. Peter Bol (Aus) 1:45.51

(25.05, 27.42 [52.47], 25.98 [1:18.45], 27.06) (52.47/53.04);

8. Wycliffe Kinyamal (Ken) 1:47.07

(25.13, 27.15 [52.28], 25.55[1:17.83], 29.24) (52.28/54.79).

HEATS (July 20)

I–1. Korir 1:49.05; 2. El Hassane Moujahid (Mor) 1:49.27; 3. Álvaro de Arriba (Spa) 1:49.30; 4. Ermiyas Girma (Eth) 1:49.36; 5. Marc Reuther (Ger) 1:50.75; 6. Manuel Belo Amaral Ataide (TLS) 1:58.91.

II–1. Bol 1:45.50; 2. Kyle Langford (GB) 1:45.68; 3. Mariano Garcia (Spa) 1:45.74; 4. Benjamin Robert (Fra) 1:45.94; 5. Abedin Mujezinovic (Bos) 1:46.26; 6. Donavan Brazier (US) 1:46.72; 7. Patryk Sieradzki (Pol) 1:48.78;… dq[lane]—Alex Amankwah (Gha).

III–1. Mouad Zahafi (Mor) 1:46.15; 2. Tual 1:46.34; 3. Wanyonyi 1:46.45; 4. Eliott Crestan (Bel) 1:46.61; 5. Bryce Hoppel (US) 1:46.98; 6. Mateusz Borkowski (Pol) 1:47.61; 7. Navasky Anderson (Jam) 1:48.37; 8. Brandon McBride (Can) 1:57.43.

IV–1. Sejati 1:46.39; 2. Tony van Diepen (Neth) 1:46.59; 3. Abdessalem Ayouni (Tun) 1:46.59; 4. Adrian Ben (Spa) 1:46.71; 5. Brandon Miller (US) 1:47.29; 6. Tshepo Tshite (SA) 1:47.61; 7. Brad Mathas (NZ) 1:47.70.

V–1. Arop 1:44.56; 2. Jesús López (Mex) 1:44.67; 3. Mark English (Ire) 1:44.76; 4. Catalin Tecuceanu (Ita) 1:44.83 PR; 5. Noah Kibet (Ken) 1:45.41; 6. Andreas Kramer (Swe) 1:45.77; 7. Yassine Hathat (Alg) 1:46.05;… dq[obstruction]—[2]Jonah Koech (US) [1:44.62].

VI–1. Moula 1:44.90; 2. Kinyamal 1:45.08; 3. Abdellatif El Guesse (Mor) 1:45.25; 4. Daniel Rowden (GB) 1:45.53; 5. Tolesa Bodena (Eth) 1:45.81; 6. Patryk Dobek (Pol) 1:46.80; 7. Žan Rudolf (Slo) 1:49.87.

SEMIS (July 21)

I–1. Korir 1:45.38; 2. Kinyamal 1:45.49; 3. Bol 1:45.58; 4. Langford 1:45.91; 5. López 1:46.17; 6. van Diepen 1:46.70; 7. Moujahid 1:47.18; 8. Bodena 1:50.55.

II–1. Sejati 1:45.44; 2. Tual 1:45.53; 3. Rowden 1:46.27; 4. Tecuceanu 1:46.31; 5. Zahafi 1:46.35; 6. Garcia 1:46.70; 7. Kramer 1:46.71; 8. Kibet 1:47.15.

III–1. Moula 1:44.89; 2. Arop 1:45.12; 3. Wanyonyi 1:45.42; 4. Robert 1:45.67; 5. English 1:45.78; 6. Ayouni 1:46.08; 7. de Arriba 1:46.30; 8. El Guesse 1:46.46.