Eugene, USANo race will have a stronger Eugene-based representation than the men’s 800m in the 37th annual Prefontaine Classic – Samsung Diamond League - at the historic Hayward Field on 4 June.
Two-time Pre Classic winner Nick Symmonds, the Willamette University grad running for Oregon Track Club Elite, brings a personal best of 1:43.76 set last year. He will be joined by clubmate Tyler Mulder, who made a major breakthrough last Saturday with his second lifetime best of 2011, 1:44.83.
The biggest Eugene wildcard of them all, Andrew Wheating will run either this 800m race or the Bowerman Mile, according to his coach Vin Lananna. Which race he runs will be a game-time decision based on his workouts. What isn’t in doubt is that the University of Oregon grad is in excellent shape. Under orders to cruise until the final 100 last Saturday, Wheating unleashed his patented kick to win the 1500m at the Occidental High Performance Meet in 3:36.46, the second-fastest clocking of his career.
However, it is Abubaker Kaki of Sudan, who set a meet and Hayward Field record in the 1000 metres last year, who heads the 800m field. Kaki, the two-time World Indoor champion, still only 21, had a season best in the 800 of 1:42.23 in 2010. Follow him up with Boaz Lalang of Kenya, just 22 years of age. Lalang was the silver medallist at the World Indoor Championships 800m a year ago. But for honours-won, no one in the race surpasses Lalang’s countryman, Alfred Kirwa Yego, the 800m World Champion in 2007, Olympic bronze medalist in 2008, and World Championships silver medalist in 2009. Talk about consistency.
Jackson Kivuva may be "only" a 1:43 performer, but he knows something about fast paces. He was responsible for the tempo in the second lap of last year's World record race in the event.
And don't overlook last year's top-rated U.S. miler, Leonel Manzano. The Beijing Olympian is no slouch at the two-lapper, having run 1:44.56 and rated No. 3 in the U.S. last year behind Symmonds and Wheating.
Such is the quality in the race that eight entrants have broken 1:45, and three of those—Kaki, Lalang and Kirwa Yego—have broken 1:43!
Organisers for the IAAF
800 METERS (MEN)
Abubaker Kaki (Sudan)
Alfred Yego (Kenya)
Nick Symmonds (USA)
Tyler Mulder (USA)
Boaz Lalang (Kenya)
Jackson Kivuva (Kenya)
Leo Manzano (USA)
Lachlan Renshaw (Australia)