DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA – Nick Symmonds captured fifth place in the 800 meter finals at the World Track & Field Championships, running a strong race, but falling short in his quest to win a medal here.
World record holder and heavy favorite David Rudisha of Kenya won the tactical race in a time of 1:43.91. Symmonds’ time was 1:45.12.
The former Willamette University star, who was making his second straight appearance in the World Championship final, moved up on the backstretch of the last lap into good position, right behind the leaders. However, he found himself boxed in at a crucial moment when Marcin Lewandowski of Poland came up on his outside.
“With 200 meters to go, I’m in a fantastic position,” Symmonds said after the race. “If I ever wanted to win a medal this is where I would want to be. No one would be crazy enough to pass on the right side on the last turn, but that is what Lewandowski had to do to get into the hunt. It cost me my lane and cost me my whole race.
“To hold him off would have meant kicking from 150 meters out and that also would have cost me the race. So it was kind of damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
Coming into the final straightaway, Symmonds had to move sideways into lane three, but doing so cost him his momentum, and he was able to pass just one runner before the finish.
After taking sixth place at worlds in Berlin in 2009 and fifth here, Symmonds said he would keep trying for that elusive medal.
“I’m excited to make finals and represent the U.S., but we haven’t gotten a medal (in the 800) since 1997. With the talent that we have it makes me sick that we’re not getting medals."
“I know that I have the drive and determination and talent . . . but I just need for it to shake out once for me, so I’m going to keep training hard and make 2012 my year.”