06 MAR 2004 General News

Men 800m Semi-Finals

With just the top two finishers advancing to tomorrow's final, the men's 800 metre semi finals were as physically brutal as they were tactical.

Osmar Barbosa Dos Santos of Brazil, led through the half in a fast 51.83, but the real action didn't begin until the bell. The Brazilian held on to win in 1:46.91, but behind him, Kenyan William Yiampoy and Moroccan Mouhssin Chehibi exchanged some pushes with 150m remaining, but the Kenyan held firm to finish second in 1:47.02.  Youssef Saad Kamel of Bahrain moved up to third, setting an Asian record 1:47.16.

Kenyan Joseph Mutua was in firm control of the second race, and, putting enough distance on the chase pack, stayed out of trouble en route to a 1:47.07 win.  But behind him, Florent Lacasse of France and Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain pushed, blocked and shoved for the final 150 meters, with both reaching - and diving across - the finish line simultaneously.  With both timed at 1:47.28, the photo gave the advantage to Ramzi, who moves on to the final.

The third race began even more slowly, with Jean-Patrick Nduwimana reaching the half in just under 56 seconds. At the bell a lap later, Moroccan Amine Laalou made a move to pass Dutchman Bram Som, who lost his footing and fell to the track, and out of the race.  South African Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, the Paris bronze medallist, moved to front during the brief pile up and finished first in 1:49.96, with Laalou hanging on for second in 1:50.07.