Athletics Athletics

Bett carries Kenya’s hopes of defending Rudisha’s title

Kipyegon Bett is the only Kenyan to qualify for the men’s 800m final at 2017 IAAF London World Championships

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 6 – Reigning World U20 champion Kipyegon Bett carries Kenya’s hopes of retaining the men’s 800m title after sailing through to Tuesday’s final at the London IAAF World Championships on Sunday.

The other two Kenyans; 2016 Diamond League champion Ferguson Rotich and USA based Emmanuel Korir who is the fastest this season bowed out in the semi-finals.

Bett, who comfortably won the last semi-final, clocking 1:45.02 ahead of 2013 Moscow world champion Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia (1:45.40), will be looking to give Kenyans  something to celebrate on the day his country will be holding General Elections.

World record holder David Rudisha won the title in 2015 in Beijing, China but the two-time Olympic champion will not be defending his crown after pulling out of the championships with injury.

Bett controlled the race from start to finish and he will be looking to carry on the superb form to Tuesday’s final.

First on the track was Ferguson Rotich in the first semi-final and the Kenyan could not cope up with the pace, finishing third in 1:46.49 in a race dominated by Adam Kszczot of Poland in 1:46.24 while 2012 Olympic silver medallist Amos Nijel of Botswana automatically qualified second in 1:46.29.

With only the top two to cross the line automatically sailing through to the final, Rotich was hoping to qualify as one of the best losers but that did not happen as his semi-final was the slowest.

Up next was the second semi-final that featured Korir. The American based athlete who was making his debut at the event started well to lead the race but could not push it more with 80 meters to go where he crumbled to finish fourth in 1:46.08.

Brandon Mcbride of Canada won the race in 1:45.53 ahead of home favourite Kyle Langford of Great Britain.