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Event Preview Men 800 metres

Reigning world champion Andre BUCHER (SUI) would like to defend his title, but finishing only eighth in front of his home crowd in Zurich at the Weltklasse indicates the champion is far off his 1:43.70 winning time from Edmonton. Then again, one must not forget that anything can happen in the 800m, especially as there is no pace-maker here as there is in most one-day meetings.

Mbulaeni MULAUDZI (RSA) and Hezekiel SEPENG (RSA) are likely to try and run a fast pace to get away from Bucher. Mulaudzi set a new PB of 1:43.25 this season and Sepeng holds the national record with 1:42.69. The South-African duo came on very strong this season, dominating most competitions. 

The best time of world record holder Wilson KIPKETER (DEN) this year is 1:44.36 making him only the 13th fastest in the world, but it could well be lucky-13 for the Dane. Following a long illness, after his defeat in Sydney, the 32-year-old is looking for his third world title, and with his speed and experience the South-Africans will have a hard time trying to beat him.

World indoor champion David KRUMMENACKER (USA) will aim to repeat his performance from Birmingham, and signs indicate he could surprise many and steal the show yet again. Krummenacker – just like Bucher – ran his season’s best of 1:44.30 here in St. Denis which could give him that extra bit of confidence.

Yuriy BORZAKOVSKIY (RUS) has the second fastest personal best among those present. This season has been no different for the young Russian; Borzakovskiy finished three out of his five outdoor races under 1:44.00. We must not forget though that the 22-year-old’s only major outdoor championships were the Sydney Olympics, and Paris will be a test to see how Borzakovskiy can handle three runs in as many days.

The Kenyan team brought Japeth KIMUTAI, Nicholas WACHIRA and Justus KOECH to Paris in search of a medal for the East-African nation. The best non-altitude time in the trio belongs to Kimutai, who ran 1:44.34 in Greece in June.

The main French contender is likely to be Florent LACASSE. Mehdi BAALA (FRA) gave up his spot on the team unless disaster strikes in the 1500m, and allows Jimmy LOMBA to run instead. Lacasse set a new personal best of 1:44.61 this season and finished second at the Under-23 European Championships.