2. Emmanuel Korir (800m)
Watch out David Rudisha, you’ve got competition! This aptly captures the current situation in the men’s 800m which is presently being dominated by University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) sensation, Emmanuel Korir!
The middle distance runner has been spectacular this year and comes to the World Championships with three of the Top 5 fastest times in the world in 2017, including the World Lead (WL) and his Personal Best (PB) of 1:43.10 set at his maiden Diamond League outing at the Herculis Meeting in Monaco last week.
This is a remarkable achievement by all standards, considering that Korir only switched from the 400m to the 800m last year. The 22-year old claimed his first NCAA title in March, winning the 800m Indoor GOLD. He then consolidated on that feat by securing the outdoor title in June in a time of 1:45.03.
He further demonstrated how much of a multi-talented athlete he is by clocking a superb time of 44.67s at the UTEP Invitational in April to become the seventh man ever to have run a sub-1:47 in the 800m and a sub-45s in the 400m. He bettered the mark to 44.53s a month later. It’s a wonder he’s not gunning for the 400m/800m double!
It is interesting to note that the London World Championships will be Korir’s first ever international outing for Kenya. He secured his place at the World Championships by racing to his first National title where he led the charge against the old order, taking the victory in 1:43.86, while 19-year old Kipyegon Bett followed in 1:44.04, with another youngster Michael Saruni winning Bronze in 1:44.61.
With Rudisha occupying a distant 19th on the current world rankings and Nijel Amos peaking at just the right time, one can’t help but anticipate a tantalizing clash in the men’s 800m in London.