Emmanuel Korir of Kenya crosses the finish in the Men's 800m

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

BUDAPEST (22-Aug) — In the first round of the men’s 800m on Day 4 of the world track and field championships here in Budapest on Tuesday, several important athletes failed to advance, including reigning champion Emmanuel Korir of Kenya.

What happened to Emmanuel Korir?

Running in the fifth of seven heats, Korir went with the slow pace set by France’s Benjamin Robert (55.04 at 400m), and was in the hunt for a top-3 auto qualifier until there were 100 meters to go (he was second at that point). 

But in the final push to the line, the 2021 Olympic champion faded and only finished fourth in 1:46.78, a mark that wasn’t good enough to earn a time qualifier.  

“To be honest, I did my best,” Korir told Race Results Weekly.  “You know, I wasn’t expecting anything to happen because I haven’t been training well, dealing with injuries since March. 

“Now, I’m getting better, so just wanted to see how’s my body is going to respond.  I did well, for myself.”

Also failing to advance from that heat was Clayton Murphy, the American veteran who won the bronze medal at the Rio Olympics. Murphy led the second lap of the heat and was in the lead position coming out of the final bend.  But he tied up in the final sprint and ended up sixth in 1:47.06.

“I did everything right (but) just didn’t have it,” a frustrated Murphy told Race Results Weekly.  “That’s it.”

Among his two USA teammates, Bryce Hoppel advanced out of heat 4 by finishing second, while in heat 3 Isaiah Harris only finished fourth and was not able to move to the next round.

“I’m excited, I was feeling good,” said Hoppel, who treated tonight’s heat as something of a rust-buster.  The reigning USA champion added: “It’s always tough to get adjusted over here in Europe.  Getting that one race in definitely makes you feel excited for the next.”

Among other athletes with serious medal hopes, Emmanuel Wanyonyi of Kenya, Marco Arop of Canada, Andreas Kramer of Sweden, Max Burgin of Great Britain, Slimane Moula and Djamel Sedjati of Algeria and Saul Ordoñez of Spain all advanced to Thursday’s semi-finals.

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