Favorites cruise at heats on opening day at worlds

Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:28am EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

BEIJING (Reuters) - World record holder David Rudisha of Kenya and Ethiopia's defending champion Mohammed Aman cruised through the heats for the 800 meters on a hot and humid opening morning at the world athletics championships in Beijing on Saturday.

Commonwealth Games champion Nijel Amos of Botswana also safely moved through to Sunday's semi-finals with victory in a time of 1 minute 47.23 seconds in the first heat at the Bird's Nest Stadium.

"It was a good run, I wanted to stay out of trouble. I take each round as it comes. It is a bit hot here but we can cope," he said.

Olympic champion Rudisha led from start to finish as he clocked a time of 1:48.31 in the sixth and final heat which was also surprisingly the slowest.

"I have qualified and now I am looking forward to the final," he said of his showdown with Amos and Aman.

"I know it is going to be hard. I know my power is back. My problem before was my finishing speed."

The diminutive Aman offered 1 min 47.87 in a physical and competitive second heat featuring lots of jostling for position.

Earlier, Aman's compatriot Genzebe Dibaba had no such troubles negotiating the heats of the women's 1,500m as she clocked a best time of 4:02.59 across the three heats.   Continued...

David Lekuta Rudisha of Kenya (R) leads in his heat of the men's 800 metres at the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China August 22, 2015.      REUTERS/Dylan Martinez