The man to beat in the 800 metres at present is Wilfred Bungei. He showed a
great performance at the Sparkasse DLV Meeting in Dortmund. He was guidede by a
pacemaker and was soon out of reach for the rest of the field. Clearly in front
on the home straight the Kenyan started celebrating when there were still at
least 30 metres to go. He suddenly rose his arms and waved to the crowd instead
of heading on for a faster time. By doing so Wilfred Bungei probably wasted the
opportunity of clocking a sub 1:44 in the 800 metres. He finally finished in
1:44,44 minutes. But there will of course be more chances for him to show his
potential this year. Bungei will run the IAAF Golden League and the main goal
will be the gold medal in the world championships.
In Dortmund the Kenyan was guided by German pacemaker Christoph Moormann who
dropped out after about 500 metres. Before the two had passed 400 metres in a
promising 50,52 seconds. That had left the rest of the field about 20 metres
behind. While catching Bungei was simply impossible for the other runners the
battle for second place was on when Ivan Heshko (Ukraine), Kennedy Kimwetich
(Kenya) and Rene Herms (Germany) had 100 metres to go. Rene Herms, who is well
known for his strong finish, with which he has beaten Olympic champion Nils
Schumann during the last two national championship finals, finally was just
ahead of Heshko. The 20-year-old German clocked a personal best of 1:45,39
minutes and beat the national qualification time for the World Championships in
Paris for the third time this month. Nils Schumann is still not able to compete
because of injury problems.
“For me the season is going really well at present, but there is a
long way to go. So I will make a break now. My next race will be at the IAAF
Golden League in Oslo. If Wilson Kipketer should run Paris a week later I will
be ready”, Wilfred Bungei said. The Kenyan, who won a silver medal in the
world championships in Edmonton 2001, has a season’s best of 1:43,05
minutes so far. But he is sure that he will be faster soon. “I am sure
that I can run sub 1:43 minutes. May be there is even a chance of running
around 1:42 on the fast track in Rome”, Wilfred Bungei said. His personal
best from last year is 1:42,34.
The 1500 m were a Kenyan affair as well. Showing a strong finish Isaac
Songok ran 3:33,52 minutes. He won ahead of David Kiplak and Benjamin Kipkurui,
who were all paced by Sammy Mutai for the first two laps (1:53,88).
It was Russia in front of Germany in the 800 m later: Natalia Khrushchelyova
won in 2:01,44, leaving behind Claudia Gesell (2:01,89), who ran her first 800
m this season. In the 1500 m Irina Lischinska (Ucraine) was the winner in
4:02,60 minutes. Irina Mikitenko, who is a long distance specialist clocked
4:10,76 for sixth place.