World 800m champion Mohammed Aman voices plans to move up to the 1500m and says breaking the 800m world record is “possible”
Ethiopia’s newly-crowned world 800m champion Mohammed Aman has revealed further history-making plans are in the pipeline.
The 19-year-old became the youngest-ever world 800m champion in Moscow and made history for his country by claiming Ethiopia’s first ever global outdoor title at a distance below 5000m. Despite the absence of Kenya’s Olympic champion and world record-holder David Rudisha due to injury, the men’s two-lap race remained one of the most eagerly awaited of the championships and Aman lived up to his billing as pre-race favourite to clock 1:43.31 and narrowly pip American Nick Symmonds into silver.
Aman has since announced plans to move up to the 1500m next year, a distance over which he currently holds a personal best of 3:43.52 set in 2011, as well as voicing his belief that breaking Rudisha’s 800m world record is “possible”, but not an immediate aim.
“My coach and I have discussed this, and we have decided to try the 1500m event next year,” explained Aman, speaking through an interpreter. “We will see how it goes, but my main focus will still be the 800m.”
Better known for its distance runners, Ethiopia had never previously won gold at the outdoor world championships or Olympics in either the 800m or 1500m. With now both the world indoor and outdoor 800m titles under his belt, Aman is pleased to be seen as an athlete breaking stereotypes.
Speaking of his recent victory in Moscow, Aman commented: “I am very happy and very of proud for myself and my country. This is the first time that an Ethiopian has won a major competition in middle distance and to be mentioned in the same sentence as Abebe Bikila, Miruts Yifter and Haile Gebrselassie is an extreme honor for me.
“I am glad that I have proven to the world, my country men and future generations of Ethiopian athletes that ‘yes, it is possible’ and broken the stereotypes and expectations (of competing in and winning events outside of long-distance).”
In terms of what the future holds, Aman admits defending his Diamond League title is his next aim but believes “anything is possible”, especially when it comes to breaking the 800m world record.
“My immediate attention is on defending my Diamond League title in Brussels,” he said. “After that I will take a break and make a strategy for next year.”
Aman is the only man to have beaten Rudisha at their main distance over the past three seasons. Commenting on Rudisha and the current world record of 1:40.91 which was set by the Kenyan in a London Olympics final that saw Aman finish sixth, the Ethiopian added: “I wish David a speedy recovery. He is a great athlete and not having him on the circuit is a great loss for the fans and the athletics world.
“As for his world record… in life anything is possible if one believes in himself and works hard. So yes, it is possible, but that is not my focus right now.”