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Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.

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World Record Holder Captures World Championship 800m Crown

In a stunning departure from his hard-paced world-record win at the London Games, Olympic Champion David Rudisha relied on his newly-regained finishing speed to rocket to victory in the men's 800 meter final.

With Rudisha's dominance not anticipated and USA's reigning world championship silver medalist Nick Symmonds off the team due to an apparel dispute, the m800 was considered to be a wide open battle. The youthful Americans – all three competing in their inaugural World Championships – were not expected to make much noise. They didn't. Casimir Loxsom was a quick out in Round 1. And neither former indoor 600m AR holder Erik Sowinski [1:47.16] nor Akron's newly-minted 800m Pan Am Games champion Clayton Murphy [1:46.28] could find the closing speed to advance beyond the tactical, fast-finishing semi-final rounds. Other big-name semi-final casualties included Botswana’s Nigel Amos and Ethiopia’s Mo Aman, the defending champion.

As the championship race unfurled, the 7 other finalists either accorded respect to or were intimidated by the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder. At the opening gun, Rudisha jumped out front and led through an opening lap in 54.17. The measured pace bunched the runners as Poland's Adam Kszczot – looking impatient – was trapped on the rail. On the backstretch with 270 meters remaining, Amel Tuku – the WL at 1:42.51 – accelerated out of the pack with his sites on the leader. Almost as if sensing the drive by the Bosnian athlete, Rudisha upped the ante and repelled the attack. Inside 200m remaining, the Kenyan opened his mammoth stride into full flight with the Pole and the Bosnian in pursuit.

The homestretch offered little drama as the former World Junior titlist’s fast close [1:45.84] sealed his second world championship victory early. Kszczot exhibited a strong kick to take the silver [1:46.08] while Tuku worked hard and fought through traffic to get up for the bronze in 1:46.30.

The new champion offered a poised explanation for his success. "Today was more like a tactical race. I knew I had my speed. There was really nothing to worry about because I wanted to run that way." When pressed about his preferred racing style, the 26 year old Rudisha replied, "Actually, I can run any way I want, the way I feel, any time. Because I am a frontrunner, I can run hard from the fast start to the finish. Of course, I've also proven I can run in a tactical race and win. I think I can run any race I want any time."

An exasperated Szczot expressed frustration. "I was wondering why other runners are so passive,” bemoaned the Pole. “The toughest thing in the slow races is to have the big kahunas. I can't understand why they are babies. Run with him! Why they didn’t do it, I don't know. If I would be out there – off the rail – I would do that. But I couldn't,” exclaimed the silver medalist, confounded by the others being so intimidated. In this final, they may have had reason to be.

RunBlogRun Some photographs on this site have been reproduced with permission from runblogrun.com.