10 MAR 2001 General News

Men's 800 metres semi-finals

Men's 800 metres Semifinals

Qualification: Top three from each heat.

Heat 1 --

Trinity Gray set a hot pace in the first heat, covering the first 400 in 52.24 and leading the field by as much as 20 metres.

Following the American at a distance were the defending champion, Johan Botha of South Africa, and Russia's Yuriy Borzakovskiy, who had just moved from last place into third at the halfway point.

At 600, Gray was still leading at 1:19.84, but the field was noticeably tighter, with Borzakovskiy now in second, and Botha only a step behind.

The Russian sprinted away on the final back stretch, and Botha matched his pace into the finish, albeit about five metres back. They finished one-two in 1:46.84 and 1:47.28.

Heading into the final turn, Poland's Pawel Czapiewski put on a final burst just as he had done yesterday to clip Gray coming down the final stretch for the third qualifying position in 1:47.35.

France's young 800-meter star, Florent Lacasse, was also able to move up to snare fourth from the American, as both were timed in 1:47.90.

Heat 2 --

After yesterday's close call in the heats, from which he survived only by getting one of the time qualifiers, Andre Bucher was determined to make more of a statement.

The result was a wire-to-wire win for the Swiss runner in 1:47.04.

Bucher took the lead off the stagger, appearing to give Belgian Tom Omey a bit of a nudge as the pair headed into the turn after 100 meters.

David Lelei of Kenya and Glody Dube of Botswana were cruising behind the front-running pair of Europeans.

Bucher continued to pace the race after a 53.03 at the 400 mark. Off the bell, Dube and Lelei had displaced Omey for the second and third positions, which they held into the finish.

For Dube, the second-place 1:47.31 was a Botswanan national record.

Lelei's 1:47.48 was just sufficient to hold off Tom Omey's late charge to a Belgian record 1:47.67.