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Our Nijel Back to Glory

Publishing Date : 24 July, 2017

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

Following a year and half frustrated in the dumps, running sensation Nijel Amos has recaptured his glory and is threatening to overhaul the dynamics of the 800m race at the IAAF World Championships next month. Amos has proven he still has fires to burn, just as he did at the 2012 London Olympics whilst a teenager.


Amos became a shadow of himself in recent years, recording far-between victories in less significant competitions. His biggest frustration was at last year’s Olympics when he faded out in the semifinals clocking 1:50.46.  Now with athletics’ prestigious competition on sight, the 23 year old is back on tune and it couldn’t be more upbeat that this. “This is the Nijel we were familiar with 2/3 years ago. The man from Botswana is back and this could be a special summer for the 800m,” an enthralled commentator charged as Amos marked his return with his 1:43.18 record times at the same track he emblazoned his name at in 2012.


With athletics gurus applauding the Marobela born runner for finding his gear at the right time, another nail biting two laps is on offing next month. Projections are that athletics fanatics will be treated to another great 800m race in London since that historic night five years ago in the same city he chased his archenemy David Rudisha at. “I’m done with preparations race, I’m done and waiting for the World Championships,” Amos told this paper this week.


Amos’ record times are proving his naysayers who argue that he reached career ceiling at a tender age wrong. Since making his return to the track, he has been on the lips of many as the World Championships dates gather pace. He made his presence felt by clocking 1:44.24 at the Paris Diamond League. He consolidated his performance in London by clocking 1; 43.18 which is by far world leading in the category. “He is picking up at the right time which is good for him and the nation,” athletics coach Oabona Theetso said of the 23 year old.


Last weekend he reiterated the showing clocking 1:43.91 in Rabat. Now everyone is yearning for the championships to witness a duel between East and Southern Africa. But Zorro, as he is affectionately known has on numerous occasions defied the best of East Africa as well as Europe. Amos has in two events outpaced Rudisha and former World Champion Mohamed Amman and it could be another chance for the local charge to strike when it matters most this time around. Amos clocked a time of 1.43.27 to Rudisha’s 1.43.76 in the 2014 Diamond league. In the 2015 Commonwealth Games he did it again clocking 1:45.18 while the Kenyan recorded 1:45.48. However, in 2015 at the World Championships, he could not do repeat his victory but   finished disappointingly in the last position 1:47.96.


Rudisha's winning time in 2015 of 1: 45.84 seconds was almost five seconds outside the time he set in winning gold in 2012, but this was less about times and more about ending a barren run that stretched back almost as that far. In last year’s Olympics he recorded a 1:42.6. Since age is catching up with Rudisha, it is possible that Amos can dethrone the Kenyan as the 800m king.


This time around the lanky 29 year old is doing his rehearsals in Kenya, while Amos is based in USA; a victory against the Kenyan is a burning desire for the local lad. However it is his 1:43,18 which is also the world leading time thus far in 800m which should send shock waves across other runners building up to the spectacle. A probability curve is shaping well in favor of the athlete more so he has changed the tactic now.


Instead of chasing he prefers being the pace setter, a tactic used by among others Rudisha and it has paid dividends up to now. Completing the first lap under 50 or just after 50 seconds is another tick in the runner’s upward curve. This year’s World Championship edition will be Amos’ second after 2015. The London event presents an opportunity for the runner to once again add another prestigious medal to his collection.  

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