Battle lines drawn in the men's 800m in Day 2, morning session of World Athletics U20 Championships


This is the update by Justin Lagat on Day 2, session 1 of the World Athletics Under 20 Championships. Justin Lagat is covering the WU 20 for @runblogrun this week, and we appreciate his overcoming the challenges of a pandemic championships.

In weather that could conveniently describe the Nairobi city; "the city under the sun" - warm and sunny, the first rounds of the men and women 400m hurdles became the first events on track on the second day of the world under 20 championships in Nairobi.

Heidi Salminen of Finland (PB 58.12), Gabriel white of Jamaica (58.65), and Savannah Sutherland of Canada won heat 1, 2, and 3 of the women's 400m hurdles, respectively. There were five heats in the men's heats and the two fastest heats were won by Denis Novoseltsev as an authorized neutral athlete and Roshawn Clark of Jamaica in 50.93.

It would appear that battle lines have now been drawn in the men's 800m event. After the humiliation that the Kenyan men suffered from the Ethiopians in the finals of the men's 3000m final the previous day, two of the Kenyans in this event could not let anyone step in front of them as Noah Kibet won the first heat in 1:46.70 and Emmanuel Wanyoyi won the third heat in 1:46.51. Both times were the top two fastest qualification times.
"No. You won't get used to us!" One Kenyan fan shouted as Ethiopia's Ermias Girma threatened to overtake Kibet in the first heat. Girma would later be disqualified after finishing second behind the Kenyan.

However, it seems the battle will not be just with the Ethiopians since one athlete already got disqualified in the first heat while the other, Daniel Wolde finished 3rd in the heat where Wanyonyi had won.

On the women's part, it didn't go well for the Kenyans. After running what would have been the fastest qualification time in the first heat of the women's 800m, Kenya's Sheila Chepkosgei was disqualified. Ethiopia's Ayal Dagnachew who finished behind the Kenyan will now be advancing to the semifinals with the fastest time of 2:02.94, which is also a personal best time for her. The other Kenyan would finish last in her heat.

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