Ever since the retirement in 2004, of the two legends and world record holders: Wilson Kipketer (800m), and Hicham El Guerrouj (1,500m and 1 Mile), the men’s middle distance was never the same again. Fast times are now hard to come by. As a result, interest among fans slowly dipped, as they yearn for new heroes of said events.
For the 800, there were only 8 sub 1:43:00 from 2005 to 2010, punctuated by 3 successive years with no sub 1:43 (2005-2007). A far cry from the heydays of Kipketer in 1996 – 2000 where he register sub 1:43 on a regular basis, including 3 sub 1:42 in a span of 40 days in 1997 where he equalled Seb Coe’s then world record, then broke it several days later.
The 1,500m event suffered the same. El Guerrouj’s retirement after the 2004 Olympics left a big hole in the sports.
Bernard Lagat briefly carried on with his fast times in 2005-2006, and even won 2 golds at the 2007 World Championships (1,500m and 5,000m). But he was robbed of a potential Olympic glory when he sufferred an injury weeks before the Oympics.
Lagat is still active though at 35 years old, but his peak is unquestionably over, and may never break his PR of 3:27.40 set in 2004.
Since 2006, 3:30 was only broken once – last year by Kenyan Augustine Choge.
The good news however, is that, young milers who has the potential to go under 3:30 are starting to make their presence felt.
Kenyan Asbel Kiprop already has an Olympic Gold as a result of his upgrade from Silver due to Rashid Ramiz’s doping scandal.
Australian Ryan Greggson has improved a lot this 2010 and if he doesn’t suffer any injuries for the next 3 years, he may be what the Western World needs to revive their people’s interest in miling.
Same story for the 800m, as a revival has started last year with the emergence of two young guns, David Rudisha of Kenya and Abubaker Kaki of Sudan. Both athlets have submitted 2 sub 1:43 performances for the last 3 years. And in the next 3 years, expect these two young men to flirt with Kipketer’s WR of 1:41.11.
Below are the summary of the number of times, 3mins 30secs was broken for the 1500m races since 2004, the retirement of the great Hicham El Guerrouj:
2010 – 0
2009 – 1 (Augustine Choge)
2008 – 0
2007 – 0
2006 – 3 (Daniel Komen, Rashid Ramzi, Lagat)
2005 – 2 (Lagat Komen)
Below are the summary of the number of times, 1min 43secs was broken for the 800m races since 2004, the retirement of the great Wilson Kipketer:
2010- 2 (Rudisha, Kaki)
2009 – 3 (Rudisha, Alred Yego, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi)
2008 – 3 (Kaki, Yuriy Borzakovskiy, Yusuf Kamel)
2007 – 0
2006 – 0
2005 – 0