Defending champion Pierre Ambroisse Bosse, only managed third place in his heat but it was enough qualify for the next round of the men’s 800m. The Frenchman should not be discounted despite only clocking 1:46.14 to finish behind Canadian Brandon McBride (1:45.96) and Qatari Abubaker Hayder Abdalla (1:46.11).
The talented Bosse had upstaged much stronger runners to win the gold in a tactical race on London and would be looking to a similar race in the final.
Abu Baker, who won the Asian 800m title at the same stadium this year, would be looking to home support to spur him on in the final.
Earlier, USA’s Diamond League champion Donavan Brazier won the first heat in 1:46.04 with a late kick to the finish.
But there will be no place for Botswana’s 2012 Olympic silver medalist Nijel Amos, who aggravated an injury and failed to start. Amos had won the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco in 1:41.89, the season’s best and fastest time recorded since the 2012 Olympics record by David Rudisha.
In his absence Heat 2 was won by Kenyan Ngeno Kipngetich, who was timed at 1:46.07. Fellow Kenyan Ferguson Cheruyot Rotich won Heat 4 in a time of 1:45.98. With Amos out of the competition, Rotich goes into the next round, as the runner with the seasons best time or 1:42.54.
Poland’s Adam Kszcot, silver medalist two years ago, only managed fifth spot in Heat 4. His time of 1:46.20, however was enough to see him through as one of the six fastest losers. Kszczot would be a serious contender considering his track record. He has two world silvers, world indoor gold, silver and bronze, and three European golds both outdoors and indoors.
Yet another Kenyan runner came out tops in Heat 5. Emmanuel Kimkurui Korir finished the race in 1:45.16. It was the fastest heat of the competition with all three top qualifiers coming from it. Mostafa Samil finished second in a time of 1:45.27 ahead of Puerto Rican Wesley Vazquez (1:45.47)
Eliot Giles of Great Britain finished his race in 1:45.53 to win the final heat of the competition ahead of American Clayon Murphy (1:45.62) and Bosnian and Herzogovina’s Amel Tuka (1:45.62).
The list of qualifiers guarantees another intriguing race for the gold.