Kenya’s Alfred Kipketer was lucky to hang on to the lead in the closing stages of a fascinating 800m final, as the 16-year-old held on for victory after a suicidal first 400m which was quicker than World record pace.
Flying off from the gun to clock an astonishing 48.63 split – which is notably faster than the 49.28 that David Rudisha ran en route to his 1:40.91 World record at the London 2012 Olympics – Kipketer was eventually reeled in with 200m remaining but surprisingly, had enough energy in reserve to hold the lead in the dying yards.
Kipketer won in 1:48.01 to capture Kenya’s fifth title in the 14-year history of this event.
Charging through for the silver medal at the end of an impressive fight for gold down the home-straight, Russia’s Konstantin Tolokonnikov clocked a 1:48.29 personal best, with the 17-year-old taking his nation’s first ever medal in this event at the World Youths.
Also in the thick of the last-gasp battle for silverware at the end of a bizarre race, Great Britain’s Kyle Langford finished third with a 1:48.32 lifetime best to take the nation’s first ever medal in this event during the eight editions of this championship.
Further back in fourth, Ethiopia’s Mamush Lencha clocked 1:49.85 as Germany’s Marc Reuther ran a 1:50.05 personal best for fifth.