EUGENE, United States: London Olympic runner-up Nijel Amos of Botswana won the 800 meters yesterday at the Prefontaine Classic in a 2014 world-best time while long-injured reigning Olympic champion David Rudisha finished seventh.
The Diamond League showdown at the University of Oregon produced a number of the year’s best performances, but Amos had the finest, rallying from third around the last turn to pass Rudisha, who faded at the finish, and Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman and win in 1 minute 43.63 seconds, 0.36 ahead of second-place Aman in a meet record.
“I was well back but I wanted to run my race,” Amos said. “I was able to run at my pace.”
Rudisha led down the final backstretch in his first race in more than a year after a quad injury similar to one that nagged Amos most of last season as well.
Rudisha fought off a challenge from Aman and led entering the final turn but Amos charged from the outside and Rudisha’s poor form cost him down the stretch, the 2011 world champion and world record-holder finishing in 1:44.87.
“I’m happy to be back,” Rudisha said. “I had to push hard and the last 100 they passed me.”
Amos was eager for the challenge, saying, “We can both run better times.”
Rudisha plans to run at the Diamond League event in New York in two weeks.
“This was to sharpen up, to get back into competition,” Rudisha said. “I know now what I need to do. I’m happy now that I know how I run.”
American Justin Gatlin won the 100 in a wind-aided 9.76 seconds with a helping breeze of 2.7m/sec, edging countryman Michael Rodgers by 0.04 of a second.
France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde won the 110 hurdles in 13.13 seconds with Jamaican Hansle Parchment second in 13.20. The Frenchman’s time edged Parchment by 0.01 for this year’s world best.
Another Frenchman, Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie, won the pole vault by clearing 5.80 meters.
Grenada’s Kirani James edged American LaShawn Merritt at the line to win the 400, each finishing in a 2014 world-best time of 43.97, while Kenya’s Caleb Ndiku won the 5,000 in this year’s world-best time of 13:01.71.
On the women’s side, reigning Olympic champion Anna Chicherova of Russia cleared 2.01m to win the high jump with the best height of the year. AFP