Symmonds Wins Semifinal Heat, Advances to Finals at World Championships

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

BERLIN, GERMANY -- Former Willamette University runner Nick Symmonds '06 took first place in his semifinal heat in the 800-meter run on Friday, Aug. 21 at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in track and field. Symmonds won the heat with a time of 1:45.96 to automatically qualify for the finals, which are scheduled for 8:25 a.m. (PDT) on Sunday.

During semifinal Heat #1, which included Symmonds, Abubaker Kaki from the Sudan tripped and fell partway through the first lap. Two other runners could not avoid Kaki and also wound up on the track.

Symmonds, who was at the back of the pack when Kaki fell, was able to stay on his feet. Just seconds later, he moved from the outside of the track to an inside position, as he surged into the lead. He remained in front the rest of the way to win by 0.36 seconds.

Jackson Mumbwa Kivuva of Kenya took second place in the heat at 1:46.32. Kivuva also automatically qualified for the finals. The athletes who fell over Kaki, Bram Som of the Netherlands and Marcin Lewandowski of Poland, also advanced to the finals after their respective national federations protested the results.

The top two finishers in semifinal Heat #2 were Yusuf Saad Kamel of Bahrain, who claimed first place in 1:45.01, and Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia, who took second place in 1:45.16. In semifinal Heat #3, the winner was Amine Laalou of Morocco with a time of 1:45.27. Yeimer Lopez from Cuba placed second in 1:45.33.

In addition to the first and second place finishers in each heat, the runners with the next two fastest times regardless of heat also advanced to the finals. They were Alfred Kirwa Yego of Kenya with a time of 1:45.22 and Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa at 1:45.26. Yego and Mulaudzi both ran in the second heat.

Overall, 10 athletes will compete in the finals. The race will be webcast live at UniversalSports.com (Sunday, Aug. 23, 8:25 a.m. PDT).

Symmonds won seven NCAA Division III national championships while competing at Willamette. He achieved four 800-meter titles and won three championships in the 1,500-meter run. Last year, he advanced to the semifinals of the 800-meter run at the Beijing Olympics.

Note: Photo by Thomas Patterson of the Statesman Journal.

RACE RESULTS
IAAF World Championships
800-meter Run - Semifinals
Berlin, Germany
August 21, 2009

Nick Symmonds '06 won his semifinal heat at the World Championships. He will compete in the finals on Sunday.