KENYANS REIGN SUPREME: Rudisha showed he is boss as Kipyegon also triumphed

2016 Rio Olympics - Athletics - Final - Men's 800m Final - Olympic Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

After winning the 2012 Olympic title in a world record of 1:40:91, things didn’t quite go to plan for David Rudisha.

The Kenyan missed the IAAF World Championships Moscow 2013 and was beaten at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. He did, however, make a victorious return at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.

The 2016 season wasn’t easy, but Rudisha was focused on retaining his Olympic title. Having finished fifth at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai in May and fourth in Stockholm in June, Rudisha won his first big meeting of the summer in Szekesfehervar in June in a world-leading 1:43.35.

In Rio he had no problems progressing to the final. After a convincing run in the semifinal, few doubts remained about the world record-holder’s form.

Rudisha won another fast Olympic final, running 1:42.15 – the fastest time in the world since his London triumph four years prior. Morocco’s 2012 Olympic 1500m champion Taoufik Makhloufi bagged his first major 800m medal, clocking a 1:42.61 national record for the silver.

Men’s 1500m

Asbel Kiprop was the No.1 1500m runner during the early season.

The three-time world champion and 2008 Olympic champion clocked a world-leading 3:29.33 in Birmingham in June and was the favourite for the Olympic title but it was never to be as USA’s Matthew Centrowitz won gold.

Women’s 1500m
Genzebe Dibaba was invincible last year, but injury problems at the start of the 2016 summer meant that she went to Rio having run just one race, a solo 3:59.83.

Meanwhile, world silver medallist Faith Kipyegon had a perfect preparation for the Olympics, comfortably winning three IAAF Diamond League races – two of them sub-3:57 – plus the Kenyan trials.

Although Dibaba adopted similar tactics to those she had employed at the World Championships one year prior, Kipyegon maintained her supremacy in Rio.

Dibaba upped the pace with two laps remaining, but was unable to shake off Kipyegon.

The Kenyan took the lead with 200 metres remaining and, having covered the final 800m in 1:57.2, went on to win by 1.35 seconds in 4:08.92. A tiring Dibaba almost lost the silver to fast-finishing Jenny Simpson.

Laura Muir was the main victim of Dibaba’s brutal gear change, dropping from third to seventh during the course of the final 200 metres.

At the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London three weeks prior, Muir – who thrives off a fast, even pace – had impressed with a 3:57.49 British record, winning by more than three seconds.

At the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris, just 11 days after the Olympic final, Muir’s gutsy approach was richly rewarded as she handed Kipyegon her first defeat of 2016, winning by one-and-a-half seconds in a world-leading 3:55.22. Aside from Dibaba’s world record, it was the fastest time in the world for almost 20 years.

Women’s 800m

The 800m is usually a fiercely competitive event where wins and losses are traded during the season. But this year the top order was carved in rock.

Caster Semenya won all of her races, including the Olympics and five IAAF Diamond League races. Francine Niyonsaba lost only to Semenya (six times) and won the remaining two IAAF Diamond League events, while Margaret Wambui finished behind only Semenya and Niyonsaba (three times).

After several years of mixed success, Semenya was simply a class apart this summer. Content to follow the leader in the early part of her races, she seemed to be able to leave the opposition whenever deciding to do so in the closing stages.

This season also marked the return of Niyonsaba. She burst on to the international scene in 2012 when she ran 1:56.59 at the age of 19, but after an injury in early 2013 she had been missing on the world stage for almost three years.

Behind Semenya, Niyonsaba and Wambui, the fortunes shifted continuously and no fewer than 14 different athletes achieved top-six finishes across the seven IAAF Diamond League races.

Joanna Jozwik, for example, finished no higher than eighth in her first three IAAF Diamond League races of 2016, but she finished off her season with a fifth-place finish in Rio and a fourth-place finish at the IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich.

Next Story
LATEST STORIES
Joy riders: We will trim team bound for London, says Haron Komen

Not all the 104 athletes and officials who have sought visas will travel to the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships to be held in London from August 4 to 12, the Ministry of Sports has said.

Media build clubs’ brand: Guidelines on media operations have assisted Spanish clubs grow their brands

Tour of La Liga: Journalists accorded necessary information thereby improving the image of league and clubs

Volleyball: Champions Prisons secure two wins in Nakuru leg

Champions Kenya Prisons beat Western Prisons 3-0 in the opening match of the fifth leg of the National Volleyball League cum Challenge Cup Championships that served-off at Afraha Open Grounds in Nakuru on Friday.

Bandari, Wazito through to last eight of GOtv Shield

Bandari edged out Nakumatt 3-2 to make it to the last eight of the GOtv Shield tournament at Mbaraki Sports Club yesterday.

More Stories
Joy riders: We will trim team bound for London, says Haron Komen

Not all the 104 athletes and officials who have sought visas will travel to the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships to be held in London from August 4 to 12, the Ministry of Sports has said.

Spot the President: Athletes meet Uhuru

I am also a winner. President Uhuru Kenyatta

US-based Saruni dropped from 800m team for World Championships

Two-time Olympic and world 800m champion David Rudisha and 2016 IAAF Diamond League winner Ferguson Rotich have been picked in the 800m squad to the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships in London on August 4-12.

Kipchoge returns to the road at Berlin Marathon

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge will make return to the road race circuit at the 2017 Berlin Marathon in September having come agonisingly close to breaking the two-hour barrier at Monza in May.

AK agonises over 800m duo Rotich and Rudisha

Athletics Kenya was last evening expected to whittle down the men’s 800m men squad for London Worlds from five to four.

Athletics: Kenya shrugs aside taunts of terror threats to stage spectacular event

Success of IAAF World U-18 games raises Kenya’s profile

Nairobi watches as world's finest outdo one another in Under18 Championships

In Mary Moraa, Kenyans catch a glimpse of imminent glory

Athletics: Ethiopian upstages Kenyans as Zakayo surrenders 3,000m title

Edward Zakayo could do little to stop Ethiopian’s Selemon Barega from sprinting to victory in the 3,000m final on the closing day of the IAAF World Under-18 Championships yesterday.