By Amy Tennery
EUGENE, Ore. (Reuters) – Kenya’s Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir produced his best performance of the season to win his 800 metres semi-final on Thursday, while Algerian Slimane Moula came from behind to win his race in the fastest time of the day.
Korir, one of three Kenyans to advance to Saturday’s final in Eugene, Oregon, took it easy to move through his opening heat but took a more aggressive approach in the semi-final.
Nearly half a second behind the leader with 100m left, he sprinted ahead of compatriot Wyclife Kisasy and Australian Peter Bol down the final straight, sneaking across the finish line in 1:45.38. Kisasy took the other automatic qualifying spot as Bol also advanced.
Moula (1:44.89) found a final burst of energy to streak past Canadian Marco Arop down the final straight of his heat, as 17-year-old Kenyan Emmanuel Wanyonyi advanced as a fast loser with a third-place finish.
Kenyan world indoor silver medallist Noah Kibet lost his speed out of the final turn as Algerian Djamel Sedjati and Frenchman Gabriel Tual came from behind down the final 100 metres for automatic qualification in their race.
The event was without Britain’s Max Burgin, the fastest man in the world headed into Eugene and a real medal hope, after he pulled out with injury on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in Eugene, Oregon;Editing by Peter Rutherford)