Frenchman takes surprise victory as Brit unleashes inspired sprint finish to claim fourth at World Champs
The form book was ripped up as a gripping 800m final unfolded at the London Stadium on Monday night. So often the bridesmaid at major events and having not shown any great form in 2017, Pierre-Ambroise Bosse stormed to the title as the 56,000-strong partisan crowd urged British hope Kyle Langford on to the cusp of a podium position.
After world record-holder David Rudisha had scratched on the eve of the championships due to injury and fellow in-form Kenyan Emmanuel Korir had exited in the heats, it left Nijel Amos, the Commonwealth champion from Botswana, as hot favourite.
But after following leader Brandon McBride of Canada through the bell in 50.76, Amos faded on the second lap as Bosse moved strongly from sixth to first down the back straight on the second lap to hit pole position as the field rounded the final bend.
Once in front, Bosse held his ground to come home first in a season’s best of 1:44.67. But behind there was an exciting scramble for positions as Adam Kszczot of Poland and Langford from Great Britain moved from seventh and eighth with 200m to go to finish second and fourth.
Kszczot, who is renowed for his strong finish, ended up just over a quarter of a second behind Bosse with Kipyegon Bett of Kenya holding third as Langford ran a PB of 1:45.25 to miss out on a medal by just four hundredths of a second, as Amos finished fifth and 2013 world champion Mohammed Aman was sixth.
Bosse was born with the name Bossé but insists on his name being spelt without the accent and pronounced ‘boss’. It is an appropriate name given the way he stamped his authority on his rivals – and his name will also now be known to a lot more people after his victory in London.
“It felt like a nightmare as I was getting chased,” he said. “It was a never-ending nightmare. I could not understand why nobody was going past me. Even when I crossed the line I could not believe it.
“The others killed themselves and they were already dead in the last 100m. I was like a witch casting a spell on them.”
The 25-year-old, who was fourth in the Olympic final last year, added: “I did not have any race plan, believe me. I just did it with feeling. I came to London and I was not in a very good shape. This is the best thing ever. I surprised myself, I surprised everybody.
“Last time I was here for the Diamond League meeting and I won. This is a great arena. I achieved this victory with a lot of determination, it was with my mind, not with my legs and not with strength.”
Kszczot, who has a superior win-loss record over Bosse during their careers, said: “I lost a chance to attack between 500-600m to go, so I waited until the last 150m to try to win with a kick. But Pierre was too well prepared and strong.”
As for Langford, the former European junior champion said: “I’ve got a funny mentality of wanting to win everything I do. You sit down and say ‘fourth, I’ll take that’, but I know in my heart that I wanted to get a medal out here. So it is gutting to not get it. I said to my coach that I want to make the final and when I make the final, I want to pull something off and win a medal.
“I did come here to here to win and I was so close but you can’t be that close and not win. I have to just have take it on the chin and try and learn from this experience.”
On the race tactics, he said: “It was a bit scrappy. I knew I was going through in the right time and I was closing hard but I left it just a little bit too late but this is where you learn. In Tokyo I won’t be making that mistake and I promise you I will getting that gold.”
The Jon Bigg-coached athlete continued: “I am only 21 so I have got so much time. I have said for a long time that I will win an Olympic gold medal and that is my aspiration. That is what I am training for in the hard winters.
“I know a lot of people said getting to the final was good but I was lying in bed last night thinking that it was destined for me to come out and get a medal and I can’t really say much more than that.”
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