Amos, Lavillenie victories a pointer for Beijing c'ships

LONDON • Botswana's Nijel Amos laid down a marker ahead of next month's world championships by winning a highly-anticipated 800m showdown with Kenyan Olympic champion David Rudisha at the Anniversary Games on Saturday.

The unorthodox 21-year-old, who also beat Rudisha in Lausanne this month, clocked 1:44.57 following a strong surge down the home straight at the London Diamond League meeting.

Rudisha finished second in 1:44.67 on his return to the Olympic Stadium where he set the world record in 2012 - described as the greatest 800m race ever.

"Every race I'm running with him (Rudisha) is a good race," Amos told reporters. "I used to watch his videos as a youth so it's a dream come true. I'm going home now for three weeks of training ahead of the world championships."

Rudisha, still recovering from injury, was given a rousing reception on the start line.

But the 26-year-old is clearly not back to his stunning best, finishing nearly four seconds off his world- record pace.

"It's really nice when we are racing with these guys because we have a lot of respect and love competing with each other," Rudisha said. "I have a lot of good memories for this track where I set the world record. There's still a few weeks until the world championships.

"I'm building my mileage and my speed is okay."

There was a more successful return to the stadium for pole vault world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie. The Frenchman soared to a stadium record of 6.03m in what was the performance of the day.

The 28-year-old, crowned as World Athlete of the Year in 2014 after his world record 6.16m vault indoors in Donetsk, sailed over at 6.03m before registering three failures at 6.10m.

It was the second best outdoor performance of his career, behind his 6.05m clearance at the Eugene Diamond League meeting in May.

It also bettered his winning height from the 2012 Olympics at the same venue (5.97m) and the stadium record which he set at the 2013 London Diamond League meeting (6.02m).

"I am very happy," he said.

"It gives me all the confidence I need before the world championships because this is my last competition before then."

Lavillenie will be looking for his first world outdoor title in Beijing, having taken one silver and two bronzes from the last three championships. REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2015, with the headline 'Amos, Lavillenie victories a pointer for Beijing c'ships'. Print Edition | Subscribe