Track and Field | Sunday, August 28, 2011
Symmonds Advances to Finals in 800 at World Track and Field Championships
Wins Semifinal Heat in Photo Finish
DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA -- Nick Symmonds ('06) won his semifinal heat of the 800-meter run in a photo finish at the IAAF World Championships in track and field on Sunday, Aug. 28 to advance to the finals. Symmonds and Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia both finished the heat in 1:45.73, but Symmonds was credited with the win. Both runners moved into the finals.
A total of eight runners will compete in the finals, set for 6 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesday, Aug. 30. The top two finishers in each of the three semifinal heats, plus the next two fastest times, earned berths in the finals.
Symmonds led for nearly all of the second semifinal race. He battled Borzakovskiy down the last stretch, with Symmonds gaining a slight edge at the finish line.
"I wasn't necessarily planing on leading, but the gap kind of formed there and I just saw an opportunity," Symmonds said. "And then once I was up front, I just said, 'Don't let anyone pass you. Match every single move.'"
Even so, Borzakovskiy attempted to take the lead.
"Yuriy made a really smart move down the back stretch," Symmonds said. "I just did everything I could to hold him off on the curve. I think we ran together down the home stretch."
Advancing to the finals from the first heat were Mohammed Aman from Ethiopia, who won the heat in 1:44.57 and Marcin Lewandowski of Poland, who was second in 1:44.60, plus at-large entries Abubaker Kaki form the Sudan (1:44.62) and Alfred Kirwa Yego from Kenya (1:44.82). Reaching the finals from the third heat were the winner, David Lekuta Rudisha from Kenya, with a time of 1:44.20, and Adam Kszczot of Poland, who ended the race in 1:44.81.
In the second heat, Symmonds and Borzakovskiy were followed by Jackson Mumbwa Kivuva from Kenya, who was timed at 1:45.97, but did not advance.
With the finals up next, Symmonds said that he hoped for continued success.
"I've been running well all year ... I feel really, really good," Symmonds said.
Symmonds will be running in the finals of the 800 at the World Championships for the second time in a row. In 2009, he finished sixth overall. In 2007, Symmonds also qualified for the World Championships, where he reached the semifinals.
As a runner at Willamette, Symmonds achieved four NCAA Division III national championships in the 800-meter run and won three NCAA titles in the 1,500-meter run.