World 800m record-holder suffers his first defeat in two years
With a world record in the 800m last year, a world title in Daegu last month and a winning streak dating back to August 2009, David Rudisha has established himself as one of the most dominant athletes in the world.
But his 34-meet winning streak tonight came to an end after suffering a defeat to 17-year-old Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia.
Since winning his first senior global title last month, Rudisha came close to breaking his own world record with a 1:41.33 run in Rieti. He followed that with a winning run in Brussels to secure the overall Diamond League title, but his time there of 1:43.96 was one of his slowest runs of the year and Aman finished relatively close in second, just 0.34 behind the Kenyan.
Aman, no doubt buoyed by his strong run in Brussels, went one better at the rain-soaked Notturna di Milano meeting in Italy tonight. Sammy Tangui, Rudisha’s pacemaker, led the field through 400m in 50.21 and Rudisha was tucked closely behind. But Aman had the world record-holder in his sights and was sat right behind.
After Tangui dropped out, Rudisha continued to lead but hadn’t opened up his usual gap on the rest of the field. Coming into the home straight, Aman moved on to Rudisha’s shoulder and kicked hard. Aman passed him with 80m to go and although Rudisha didn’t give up, he simply didn’t have enough speed to regain the lead.
Aman crossed the line in 1:43.50 with Rudisha just 0.07 behind. It caps a great season for Aman, who won the silver medal at the IAAF World Youth Championships, made the final at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, and set a world youth record of 1:43.37 in Rieti. His time there was also a senior Ethiopian record.
Even before his victory over Rudisha, Aman was being touted as the future of 800m running, but his performance tonight confirms that promise.
Ever since missing out making the final at the 2009 World Championships, Rudisha had not lost an 800m race – a streak that included the two world records he set last year.
Many had felt that Rudisha’s arch-rival Abubaker Kaki or world 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop would be the ones to end Rudisha’s winning streak, but with neither of those athletes in tonight’s race, Aman seized the opportunity and did the unthinkable.
Elsewhere in Milan, world champion Olga Saladukha won the triple jump with a wind-assisted 14.94m (2.4m/s), world silver medallist Silas Kiplagat won the 1500m by more than four seconds in in 3:33.28, and Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade won the 100m into a strong headwind with 10.42 (-3.4m/s) with Britain’s Luke Fagan in second (10.57).