Australian Peter Bol will shift his sights quickly towards Commonwealth Games redemption after finishing a disappointing seventh in the men’s 800m at the world championships.
Hopes were high that Bol could break through for a first major medal in Eugene after he twice broke the national record and then finished fourth in the final at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
But he was pushed back in the field after a rough-and-tumble start to the race on Saturday and was unable to fight his way back into medal contention.
Bol finished seventh in one minute 45.51 seconds. “It’s a privilege to be amongst the best in the world,” he said. “But also at the same time you don’t come here with the hope to just be in the final, you come with expectations to perform, if not at least grab a medal.
“It’s a disappointment, especially because last year I was fourth and now back to seventh.”
Kenyan Emmanuel Korir completed the Olympic-world double by crossing the line first in 1:43.71. The minor medals went to Algerian Djamel Sedjati (1:44.14) and Marco Arop from Canada (1:44.28).
Neither Korir or Arop have entered the Commonwealth 800m, but world 1,500m champ Jake Wightman will step down in distance to the two-lap race for the Birmingham Games, where he will represent Scotland.
After finishing fourth in Sunday’s final, Emmanuel Wanyonyi will spearhead the three-pronged Kenyan challenge in England.
“You just have to reset as fast as possible; there’s no choice,” Bol said. “The results will show in Birmingham whether it works out or not but I’m willing to give it a shot.”
Australian No 1 Liz Clay suffered a heavy fall in the opening round of the women’s 100m hurdles, putting her Commonwealth Games campaign in grave doubt.
Clay, 27, was taken straight to the medical room after clattering into the seventh barrier in her heat and crashing to the track. She was scheduled to have an X-ray on her left foot on Saturday night.
In much better news, Australians Michelle Jenneke and Celeste Mucci both advanced to the semis on Sunday. Jenneke was particularly impressive, clocking 12.84.
“I am ecstatic with that,” she said. “I’ve come into these championships with one real goal and that’s to run a PB.
“I didn’t quite get that today but to be that close, just 0.02 off my best and I think my PB was with a 1.2m tailwind and today was into a small headwind.
“I don’t think I executed the end of my race that well so there’s still some time there.”
Mucci clocked 13.01 while Nigerian Tobi Amusan topped the timesheets with an African record time of 12.40.
Australian record holder Brooke Buschkuehl needed only one qualifying jump to advance straight through to the women’s long jump final.
Buschkuehl – who broke her own Australian mark last week with a huge jump of 7.13m in California – managed 6.76m in Eugene, just over the automatic qualifying mark.
Fellow Australian Samantha Dale (6.04m) was eliminated.
Ash Moloney improved his position from 10th to fifth at the halfway stage of the decathlon after clocking an impressive 400m time of 46.88 to close out day one.
The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist remains in contention for another podium position, especially after Olympic champ Damian Warner from Canada pulled up midway through the 400m clutching his left hamstring.
Ayden Owens-Delerme from Puerto Rico was in the gold-medal position with 4606 points.
Moloney had 4378 points, with fellow Australians Cedric Dubler (4286) and Daniel Golubovic (4065) in 10th and 18th places respectively.