NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 14 – World record-holder David Rudisha laid a marker as he aims to defend his men’s 800m title after leading all the three Kenyans to qualify for the Monday’s final at Rio Olympics.
Rudisha sent a warning in what is anticipated to be a mouthwatering final after comfortably dominating the third semi-final in 1:43.30 which was the second fasted qualifier of the three semis.
Alfred Kipketer, who upset Rudisha at the Kenyan Olympics Trials also won his semi to earn the automatic slot to the final while Diamond League leader Ferguson Rotich qualified as one of the two fastest losers.
Rudisha, who has this season’s world lead, kept to his tact of running upfront to finish first ahead of American Clayton Murphy who ran a personal best of 1:44.30.
Kipketer on the other hand waded off the challenge of American Boris Berian in the home straight to automatically qualify in 1:44.38.
Rotich had to wait until the end to know if he qualified, having finished fourth in the first semi-final after going out of gas in the final 100m of the race.
Rotich’s time of 1:44.65 was the second fastest and he progressed alongside Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski who finished third in the same semi in 1:44.56.
Heading into the early Monday morning final, Rudisha will be wary of Frenchman Pierre Ambroise Bosse, the European champion as well as reigning Olympic 1500m title holder Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi, who both posted the quickest qualifying time of 1:43.85.
Ethiopia’s Mohammed Amman, one of Rudisha’s main opponents over the years in the race failed to make the cut for the final having finished a disappointing last in the second semi.