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Mike Rosenbaum

2012 Track & Field Year in Review: Menís Middle Distance and Steeplechase

By December 20, 2012

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David Rudisha dominated the men's 800-meter outdoor season in 2012 - no surprise here - posting four of the world's top five times and winning the Olympic gold medal in a world-record time of 1:40.91. Rudisha broke the world mark for the third time in London, and the only surprise was that he didn't completely run away from the field. Nijel Amos of Botswana ran an excellent race just to stay within a second of the Kenyan ace at the finish, as
Amos took the silver†and set†a new world junior mark of†1:41.73, with Kenya's Timothy Kitum third in 1:42.53. Mohammed Aman won the 800-meter gold at the World Indoor Championships, where Rudisha didn't compete. Aman also won the overall championship of the Diamond League, scoring the season's major upset by defeating Rudisha in the final by a quarter-second.

The signature 1500-meter race of the year, the Olympic final, was far from representative of the state of 1500-meter running in 2012. Asbel Kiprop posted the year's best time, 3:28.88, at Monaco two weeks before the London Games. Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi was fifth in that race, two seconds behind the winner. But with Kiprop nursing an injury in London, the Kenyan wasn't a factor in the Olympic final. The race was then run at a slow pace, which played into Makhloufi's hands - or more accurately, his legs - as he burst from the pack on the final straight to win in 3:34.08. American Leo Manzano was second and Morocco's Abdalaati Iguider took the bronze. Iguider
struck gold earlier in the year, winning the World Indoor 1500 meters. Kiprop and fellow Kenyan Silas Kiplagat each won three Diamond League races, with Kiplagat taking the final, and the championship.

Kenyans dominated the men's steeplechase in 2012 - that's about as surprising as Rudisha's success in the 800 - running the 16 fastest times in the world. Paul Kipsiele Koech ran the world's two fastest races, in Rome (7:54.31) and Doha (7:56.58), on his way to the Diamond League championship. But Koech wasn't even on Kenya's Olympic team. Ezekiel Kemboi snatched the Olympic gold in a slow-paced race - about two seconds slower than the first Olympic heat - crossing the line in 8:18.56, followed by France's Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad and Abel Mutai of Kenya.


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