Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa takes Oslo's 800m over Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia (Getty Images) © Copyright

PREVIEW - Men's 800m

South African Mbulaeni Mulaudzi is the hottest tip to win the 800 metres in Helsinki after finishing first over two fast laps in Helsinki and Oslo recently. Mulaudzi also holds the world season’s best 1:44.08 (set in Helsinki). At the 2003 Paris World Championships Mulaudzi was third, so now with two more years of experienced he may well be mature enough for the big victory. Last summer he was the Olympic silver medallist.

Nevetheless Mulaudzi will face tough competition from Kenya. Wilfred Bungei won the trials in Nairobi on 25 July with a mark of 1:44.11 and leads a though trio including Alfred Kirwa (1:44.54), third at Bislett, Oslo and William Yiampoy (1:44.67), the African champion.

Olympic winner in Athens and silver medallist in Paris, Russian Yuriy Borzakovskiy is gradually finding his top form. To prove this, he ran in Oslo, the third fastest time in the world this season (1:44.18).

190 cm tall Youssef Saad Kamel (1:44.26) of Bahrain might also step on the podium, but Kamel’s countryman, Bilal Mansour Ali (1:44.34) might have too little career experience in Helsinki on which to draw to be seen as a serious threat. Instead, the third man from Bahrain Rashid Ramzi (1:44.73) has more experience and may provide a surprise in Helsinki, if he doesn’t decide just to concentrate on the 1500m which he lead the world this year (3:30.00).

Moroccan Amine Laalou ran in Seville on 4 July a time of 1:44.22 and is set on being in the top three on the final day of the Championships (14 August).

By setting a mark of 1:44.54 behind Mulaudzi, Canada’s Gary Reed showed in Oslo that he may well have chances too.

19-year-old Saudi-Arabian Mohammed Al-Salhi ran 1:44.39 in Lapinlahti, Finland, in July, but is an inexperienced runner and my struggle to enter the final in Helsinki.

Americans Khadevis Robinson (1:44.70) and David Krummenacker (1:45.19) as well as Poland’s Pawel Czapiewski (1:45.39) are also likely final candidates.

Defending World champion Djabir Saïd-Guerni with a season’s best of just 1:46.64 (in Lausanne) looks to be out of form, certainly a long way off his personal best of 1:43.09.

In 1983 Helsinki World Championships, Germany’s Willi Wühlbeck clocked the still current record of the Olympic Stadium (1.43.65). Now the German colours are defended by 1.95m tall Rene Herms (1:44.71).

Helsinki 2005 media team