Except for the inaugural 1986 edition, Kenya had medalled at every championships with no fewer than eight gold medals to its credit and Barcelona proved to be no different but the sweetest prize here went for Botswana’s Nijel Amos who captured gold in a scorching Championships record of 1:43.79 to slice a full second from the previous best.
The Kenyan pair of Timothy Kitum, 1:44.59 for silver, and Edwin Kiplagat Melly, a PB of 1:44.79 for bronze, joined Amos on the podium.
However it was Puerto Rico’s Wesley Vazquez who bravely launched the race at a very quick rhythm as he hit the 200m in 24.32 and reached the bell in 51.18 closely followed by Melly, Amos, Ireland’s Brandon McBride and Kitum who was left with so much to do in the second half.
Vasquez was still at the front by the 600m point, Amos was closest, Melly was third and Kitum had reacted and was a threatening fourth not far from the leaders.
Entering the home-straight Vasquez remained ahead but first Amos and then Kitum passed him like a pair of trains to confirm their Olympic berths for London are no fluke. Amos was never really threatened by Kitum, the latter taking revenge from last year’s World Youth Championships, where he came fifth.
The last metres proved to be never ending for the brave Vasquez who finally didn’t get a medal despite his risky tactics as he was caught some 30m to the line by Melly although Vasquez found some consolation in a national record of 1:45.29, a feat also managed by McBride (1:46.07) and Algeria’s Mohamed Belbachir (1:46.70).
Today’s is the second ever medal for Botswana in the history of the championships, Amos’ gold improving on the 400m bronze taken by Obakeng Ngwigwa back in 2004.