Wilfred BUNGEI

Athlete Profile

  • COUNTRY
    Kenya Kenya
  • DATE OF BIRTH
    24 JUL 1980
    ATHLETE'S IAAF CODE
    134095
Wilfred Bungei celebrates his Olympic 800m victory (Getty Images)

Outdoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
200 Metres 22.55 -1.7 Marcon (ITA) 15 MAY 2005
400 Metres 46.99 Marcon (ITA) 21 MAY 2006
800 Metres 1:42.34 Rieti (ITA) 08 SEP 2002
1000 Metres 2:18.60 Rethymno (GRE) 07 JUL 2002
4x800 Metres Relay 7:02.43 Bruxelles (BEL) 25 AUG 2006 WR, AR

Legend

* Not legal.

Indoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
600 Metres 1:17.36 Moskva (RUS) 07 FEB 2010
800 Metres 1:44.97 Stuttgart (GER) 02 FEB 2003
1000 Metres 2:19.60 Pireaus (GRE) 20 FEB 2002

Legend

* Not legal.

Latest Active Season: 2010

Outdoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
400 Metres 49.33 Marcon (ITA) 15 MAY 2010
800 Metres 1:52.66 Pergine Valsugana (ITA) 10 JUL 2010

Indoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
600 Metres 1:17.36 Moskva (RUS) 07 FEB 2010

Outdoor

200 Metres

Performance Wind Place Date
2005 22.55 -1.7 Marcon (ITA) 15 MAY 2005

Outdoor

400 Metres

Performance Place Date
2010 49.33 Marcon (ITA) 15 MAY 2010
2006 46.99 Marcon (ITA) 21 MAY 2006
2005 47.08 Verona (ITA) 21 MAY 2005

Outdoor

800 Metres

Performance Place Date
2010 1:52.66 Pergine Valsugana (ITA) 10 JUL 2010
2009 1:46.39 Daegu (KOR) 25 SEP 2009
2008 1:44.63 Shanghai (CHN) 20 SEP 2008
2007 1:44.14 Doha (QAT) 11 MAY 2007
2006 1:43.31 Rieti (ITA) 27 AUG 2006
2005 1:43.70 Rieti (ITA) 28 AUG 2005
2004 1:43.06 Zürich (SUI) 06 AUG 2004
2003 1:42.52 Bruxelles (BEL) 05 SEP 2003
2002 1:42.34 Rieti (ITA) 08 SEP 2002
2001 1:42.96 Zürich (SUI) 17 AUG 2001
2000 1:44.23 Zürich (SUI) 11 AUG 2000
1999 1:45.15 Patra (GRE) 01 AUG 1999
1998 1:47.21 Rovereto (ITA) 26 AUG 1998

Outdoor

1000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2002 2:18.60 Rethymno (GRE) 07 JUL 2002

Outdoor

4x800 Metres Relay

Performance Place Date
2006 7:02.43 Bruxelles (BEL) 25 AUG 2006

Indoor

600 Metres

Performance Place Date
2009/10 1:17.36 Moskva (RUS) 07 FEB 2010
2007/08 1:20.91 Stockholm (SWE) 21 FEB 2008

Indoor

800 Metres

Performance Place Date
2008/09 1:45.91 Praha (CZE) 26 FEB 2009
2007/08 1:46.38 Stuttgart (GER) 02 FEB 2008
2006/07 1:45.42 Stockholm (SWE) 20 FEB 2007
2005/06 1:45.60 Stuttgart (GER) 04 FEB 2006
2004/05 1:46.90 Peania (GRE) 20 FEB 2005
2003/04 1:45.28 Stockholm (SWE) 12 FEB 2004
2002/03 1:44.97 Stuttgart (GER) 02 FEB 2003
2001/02 1:46.35 Chemnitz (GER) 22 FEB 2002

Indoor

1000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2002/03 2:22.49 Liévin (FRA) 23 FEB 2003
2001/02 2:19.60 Pireaus (GRE) 20 FEB 2002

Honours - Olympic Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 800 Metres 1:44.65 Beijing (CHN) 23 AUG 2008
5. 800 Metres 1:45.31 Athina (GRE) 28 AUG 2004

Honours - World Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. 800 Metres 1:44.55 Edmonton (CAN) 07 AUG 2001
4. 800 Metres 1:44.98 Helsinki (FIN) 14 AUG 2005
5. 800 Metres 1:47.42 Osaka (JPN) 02 SEP 2007

Honours - World Indoor Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 800 Metres 1:47.15 Moskva (RUS) 12 MAR 2006
3. 800 Metres 1:46.54 Birmingham (GBR) 16 MAR 2003

Honours - World U20 Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. 800 Metres 1:47.53 Annecy (FRA) 31 JUL 1998

Honours - World Athletics Final

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 800 Metres 1:47.05 Monaco (MON) 10 SEP 2005
1. 800 Metres 1:45.97 Monaco (MON) 13 SEP 2003
3. 800 Metres 1:47.22 Stuttgart (GER) 09 SEP 2006
6. 800 Metres 1:46.45 Monaco (MON) 18 SEP 2004

Honours - Golden League

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 4x800 Metres Relay 7:02.43 Bruxelles (BEL) 25 AUG 2006
1. 800 Metres 1:44.41 Paris (FRA) 08 JUL 2006
1. 800 Metres 1:43.48 Bruxelles (BEL) 03 SEP 2004
1. 800 Metres 1:43.06 Zürich (SUI) 06 AUG 2004
1. 800 Metres 1:42.52 Bruxelles (BEL) 05 SEP 2003
1. 800 Metres 1:44.62 Berlin (GER) 06 SEP 2002
1. 800 Metres 1:44.91 Oslo (NOR) 13 JUL 2001
Results in:

400 Metres

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
15 MAY 2010 Marcon Italian Club Ch. ITAITA F F1 4. 49.33

600 Metres Indoor

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
07 FEB 2010 Moskva Russian Winter RUSRUS B F1 3. 1:17.36

800 Metres

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
10 JUL 2010 Pergine Valsugana Meeting Città di Pergine ITAITA E F1 10. 1:52.66


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Updated 22 August 2007

Wilfred Kipkemboi BUNGEI, Kenya (800m)

Born 24 July 1980, Kabirirsang, near Kapsabet, Nandi District, Rift Valley Prov., Kenya.

1.72m/60kg. Native language: Nandi (Kalenjin). Eldest of four children of father's third of three wives. Father formerly a foreman on large tea estate, now a farmer with 28 acres.

Lives mainly in Kabirirsang. Based near Verona, Italy, during track season.
Finished secondary school at Samoei High School, Nandi Hills, 1998.
Married Priscah Ronoh 2004. Sons Wilfred Jr. (2005) and Bill (2007).
Manager: Gianni Demadonna. Coach: Gianni Ghidini.


Wilfred Bungei led the annual world lists at 800m from 2003 to 2005. His 2002 PB, 1:42.34 (No2 in the world that year), is the fifth fastest in history—which puts him in interesting company: two of the four men ahead of him, world record holder Wilson Kipketer (1:41.11) and African record holder Sammy Koskei, (1:42.28), come from his neighbourhood in Western Kenya. So three of the five fastest 800m runners in history were born within five kilometres of one another.

If a single spot can be described as the centre of Kenyan running, it is probably Bungei's village of Kabirirsang. The tiny hamlet, about 12 km east of the district capital Kapsabet, is the birthplace of the multiple world record setter Henry Rono. Two or three kilometres west is Kapchemoiywo, Kipketer’s childhood home, and also of the legendary two-time Olympic gold medalist Kipchoge Keino. About 3 km east of Kabirirsang is Arwos, home to World Cup winner Koskei, and to Olympic silver medallists Peter Koech and Ben Kogo.

For Bungei, the heritage of Kabirirsang is not just in the landscape or the air, but in his blood. Rono is his mother's first cousin, and his grandfather is the brother of Kipketer's grandmother. (The two runners are thus second cousins.) Bungei’s training “family” is comparably illustrious, including not only 2005 World bronze medallist William Yiampoy but also the number 2 man on the 2004 and 2005 world lists, Youssef Saad Kamel, formerly Gregory Konchellah, who is himself the son of Kenya’s two-time World champion Billy Konchellah.

Bungei began running in primary school at 200m and 400m then, in secondary school, he tried the Decathlon with some success, and then the 800m. In his final year he finished 3rd in the 400m and 2nd at 800m (behind William Chirchir) at the schools nationals. He was 2nd again at 800m behind Chirchir in Kenya's trials for the 1998 World Junior Championships and again at the Championships in Annecy, where he was spotted by manager Gianni Demadonna.

Bungei began his international career after the 1998 World Juniors. He stepped up his training in 1999; taken on by coach Gianni Ghidini. He finished 5th in Kenya's 2000 Olympic trials and later that year ran a PB 1:44.23 in the Zurich Golden League B race. He finished 2nd to training partner William Yiampoy in Kenya's trials for the 2001 World Championships, then took an unexpected silver behind Andre Bucher in the Championships in Edmonton (1:44.55). Ten days later he lowered his PB to 1:42.96, finishing 3rd in Zurich.

Bungei notched another impressive PB in 2002 (1:42.34, No.5 all-time) and began 2003 with 3rd in a tactical World Indoor Championships final (1:46.54) behind David Krummenacker and Wilson Kipketer.  He won Grand Prix races in Hengelo, Seville, Ostrava, Dortmund and Lausanne before being felled by malaria during the week of Kenya’s trials for the World Championships in Paris, missing selection. But he recovered in time for wins in the Brussels Golden League (1:42.52, 2003 world leader) and World Athletics Final, in Monaco.

In 2004 Bungie left no doubt about Olympic selection, clocking two sub-1:45s in 24 hours to win the brutal Kenyan trials. He slipped to 7th a week later in Rome, but regained form with wins in Madrid and Zurich, both in world-leading times (1:43.72 and 1:43.06, respectively). In Athens, in the early rounds, he took the lead early and controlled the pace, but in the final he allowed Djabir Said Guerni to set the tempo for the first lap, which turned out to be too slow to burn off the fast finishers.

Bungei led up the back straight but was unable to hold off the kickers near the finish, winding up a deeply disappointed 5th (1:45.31). The remainder of the season included one win in a fast paced race (Brussels 1:43.48) and two losses in slower contests (Berlin, 2nd in 1:45.27, and the World Athletics Final, 6th in 1:46.45).

In December 2004 Bungei married the former Priscah Ronoh of Kapsabet in a ceremony that was the social event of the year in his district. More than 5,000 guests, including most of the 2004 Olympic 800m finalists, joined the celebration. The wedding delayed Bungei’s training for 2005 and curtailed his indoor season, but outdoors he began confidently with three sub-1:45s, including 1:44:11 to win the Kenyan trials for the World Championships, in Helsinki.

In Helsinki, though, Bungei suffered another tactical breakdown in the final, going out very fast, then relaxing too much in the second 200m and allowing the kickers to gather. Leading into the final straight, he ran out of steam and was passed by three men, including teammate Yiampoy, and finished a dismal 4th (1:44.98). Five straight wins on the international circuit—Zurich, Rieti (1:43.70 world leader), the World Athletics Final, Shanghai and Daegu—retrieved the season, and the birth of a healthy son in October put his losses in perspective.

Early in 2006, Bungei recorded three wins and two 2nd places on the indoor circuit—both losses to Russia’s Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy, who would be running in front of a home crowd at the World Indoor Championships, in Moscow, later in the winter. But in Moscow, at last, Bungei ran a superb tactical race, allowing the pace to lag for the first 400m but then cranking it up just enough to hold off his principal rivals, the kickers Borzakovskiy and Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa, and win his first global gold medal.

The Russian and the South African remain his chief opponents this year in Osaka. During his long 2006 outdoor season (13 races), Bungei traded wins with Borzakovskiy, but lost four times to Mulaudzi. Then he finished behind the South African one more time in 2007, at the Rome Golden League. But Bungei had run just three outdoor races before Rome, partly because an injury in June sidelined him for three weeks. Rome, where he finished 6th in 1:46.59, was largely a test of his fitness. His masterful win in the Kenyan trials for the World Championships two weeks later was a better indicator of his readiness for Osaka.


Yearly progression

1998 - 1:47.21; 1999 - 1:45.14; 2000 - 1:44.23;  2001 - 1:42.96;  2002 - 1:42.34;  2003 - 1:42.52;  2004 - 1:43.06;  2005 - 1:43.70;  2006 - 1:43:31;  2007 - 1:44.14

Personal Best

1:42.34 (2002)


Career Highlights

1998:  2nd  World Junior Championships
2001:  2nd  World Championships
2003:  3rd  World Indoor Championships,
2003:  1st  World Athletics Final
2004:  5th  Olympic Games
2005:  4th  World Championships
2005:  1st  World Athletics Final
2006:  1st  World Indoor Championships, 1st

 

Prepared by John Manners for the IAAF.’Focus on Athletes’ project. ©  IAAF 2007.

 

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