As the youngest member of the Botswana team at the London 2012 Olympic Games, 18 year old Nijel Amos can already count himself among the top 10 800m specialists in the world as he qualified for the semi-finals yesterday in a time of 1.45:90.
He equaled the qualifying time clocked by world champion, world record holder and expert’s favourite for the 800m gold, David Rudisha of Kenya.
Amos & Rudisha tied for 3rd in the standings following the heats, behind Abubaker Kaki of Sudan and Timothy Kitum of Kenya.
The teenage sensation, Amos, has already excelled expectations in 2012, as he rapidly improved from running times of 1:47s in February to clocking the 2nd fastest time in the world in June, 1:43.11, as well as upsetting Kenyan, Timothy Kitum, to secure the World Junior Title just 4 weeks ago in Barcelona.
Much of this success can be attributed to the change in his training environment, where he began exclusive high performance training in March, focusing solely on athletics as part of the Botswana Athletics team that was based in Pretoria, South Africa. Amos and the team later moved onto Europe for competitions and further training.
Amos carrying the nation’s remaining hope for a first medal at the Olympics, comes at the back of a heart-breaking weekend for Botswana. The first coming on Saturday as Isaac Makwala (400m) missed qualifying for the semi-finals by 0.06 seconds and by one place, finishing in position 25, with 24 athletes moving on.
The second and deepest cut to Batswana’s hearts, came Sunday in a very close and nerve-wrecking race where 400m world champion from 2011, Amantle Montsho, missed a medal place at the line by 0.03 seconds, clocking 49.75. The medals went to Sanya Richards-Ross (USA-49.55 GOLD), Christine Ohurougu (GBR-49.70 SILVER), and DeeDee Trotter (USA-49.72 BRONZE).
The 800m men’s semi-finals get underway tonight at 19:55 (GMT), 20:55 (CAT), with Amos in the 1st semi final heat, facing Aboubaker Kaki (SUD) and Anthony Chemut (KEN) as his toughest opponents.
There will be 3 semi final heats of 27 men fighting for 9 slots, with the 2 fastest in each heat and 3 next fastest overall going through to Thursday evening’s final.
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