DOHA, Qatar – In becoming the first American to win the 800 meters at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships, Aggie alum Donavan Brazier accomplished the feat in spectacular fashion with an American and Championship record time of 1 minute, 42.34 seconds which bettered the field by over a full second Khalifa International Stadium on Tuesday.
The previous American record of 1:42.60 was set in 1985 by Johnny Gray, while the previous Championships record of 1:43.06 was set in 1987 by Kenya’s Billy Konchellah. On the all-time world list, Brazier is now equal to the No. 9 performer.
“I've said all season that my goal was to get the gold here and to break this record, and that's what I did,” Brazier said. “It means the world to me. To be world champion at 22 years old, I can't believe it.
“The plan was always to take it on with 300m to go and go from there, no matter what the pace was. I really had to dig deep for it. To be the first from the U.S. to win a world 800m title feels wonderful. I hope I get some love for it back home.”
Runner-up to Brazier was Amel Tuka of Boznia & Herzegovinia in 1:43.47 with Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich in third at 1:43.82. American Bryce Hoppel, who won a pair of NCAA 800m titles this season at Kansas, finished fourth with a career best of 1:44.25.
The margin of victory by Brazier at 1.13 seconds bettered the previous best of 0.85 in 17 editions of the World Outdoor Championships. The previous best was established by Switzerland’s Andre Bucher in the 2001 World Championships held in Edmonton.
Puerto Rico’s Wesley Vazquez led the field through 400m in a split of 48.99 with Brazier second at 49.21 while Tuka and Canada’s Marcus Arop both crossed in 49.89.
Brazier passed Vazquez, who ended up in fifth place (1:44.48), on the backstretch and split 1:15.18 at 600m, stretching his lead over the field through the curve. In the homestretch, Brazier drove to the finish line with the gold medal in his sights and captured a pair of long-standing records in the process.
In the first round of the 400m, Fred Kerley advanced to the semifinal with a runner-up finish in 45.19 seconds. On Wednesday, Kerley will occupy lane four in the first of three semifinal heats where the top two finishers plus the next two fastest times advance to the final.
Also in action on the sixth day of the World Championships will be Aggie alums Lindon Victor and Annie Kunz. Victor competes in the decathlon, which starts at 8:35 a.m. (CT), while Kunz is in the heptathlon, which begins at 9:05 a.m. (CT).