While 25-year-old Nijel Amos didn’t run a personal best on Friday, he’ll happily accept the 1:41.89 meet record he scorched in Monaco.
Amos’ run is the fastest in the world since the 2012 Olympic final, the greatest 800m race in history, that not only produced David Rudisha’s 1:40.91 world record but also Amos’ 1:41.73 PB.
Incredible 800m race, a Meeting Record has been broken and World Lead for Nijel Amos (1:41.89) Many season's best were achieved in this race as well as a few PBs and a National Record! #HerculisEBS #DiamondLeague #MonacoDL pic.twitter.com/nqLhMPlutL— Herculis (@MeetingHerculis) July 12, 2019
The 1:42.14 meet record that he broke was his own from last year.
The Botswanan has now run two 1:41s seven years apart, the second of which establishes him as the clear top 800m runner in the world this season and one of the fastest men of his era. With the run Amos has joined an illustrious group of men who have run under 1:42 on two occasions— Rudisha and Wilson Kipketer, the current and former world record holders, are the only other men that have run that fast more than once.
The task for Amos going forward is living up to this extraordinary time when it matters most— at the World Championships. While he was a silver-medalist at 18 and has continued to run fast times throughout his career, Amos has not medalled since 2012. His best finish at a global championship since that London Olympic final was a fifth place showing in the 2017 World Championships. Nonetheless, he clearly has all the talent he needs to win gold in Doha, and Friday’s race made him the favorite to do so.
The fast pace was set up by a blistering first lap by pacer and Amos’ OTC teammate Harun Abda, who led the 800m star through halfway in a ridiculous 48.70. The blistering start was a risky move by Amos that left him vulnerable to collapse in the last lap, but he maintained his composure through 600m in a swift 1:15 as Kenyan Ferguson Rotich began to apply pressure. But Amos still had more to give.
With 150 meters to go it was clear that a tiring Rotich would not be able to mount a rally against Amos. The OTC athlete powered home alone with a 53.19 last lap, an ugly positive split made a lot more attractive by the 1:41.89 that it added it up to.
Behind Amos’ historic run, Rotich hung on for second in a 1:42.52 personal best. Three other men— Amel Tuka (1:43.62), Michael Saruni (1:43.70) and Brandon McBride (1:43.83)-- also broke 1:44 on Friday.