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Nijel Amos

Nijel Amos

  2013 Summer Universiade, Kazan: men’s 800 metres gold.

For some athletes, the experience of competing in a Summer Universiade is vital preparation for future success. 

For Nijel Amos, who won the men's 800 metres title in Kazan in 2013, the Games proved more of a vital link between two seasons of outstanding success at senior level.

By the time the 19-year-old from Botswana arrived in Russia he had already, astoundingly, established himself as the equal third fastest 800m runner of all time.

That was thanks to the time of 1min 41.73sec he recorded at the previous year's Olympics in London, where he had taken silver behind David Rudisha of Kenya, who won in a world record of 1:40.91.

In so doing, he equalled the world record set at Florence in 1981 by Sebastian Coe, with the next world record breaker, Wilson Kipketer of Norway, second on the all-time list with his 1997 mark of 1:41.11. 

Amos had indicated his extraordinary potential earlier in 2012 by winning the world junior title in a championship record of 1:43.79.

In Kazan he took gold in 1:46.53 from Slovakia's Jozef Repcik, who clocked 1:47.30.

Nijel Amos won gold at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan ©Getty Images
Nijel Amos won gold at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan ©Getty Images

The victory in Kazan proved to be the highlight of 2013 for Amos, who suffered a series of injury problems during the year.

But in 2014, aged just 20, he was once again in golden form as he won the 800m at the African Championships in Marrakech, the Continental Cup in the same city and the Commonwealth Games title in Glasgow, where he overtook Rudisha in the final 50 metres.

Since those heady days of youthful success, Amos has won two further African Championship titles while dropping slightly down on the awesome levels of attainment he reached in the early part of his career.

He failed to qualify from his 800m heat at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and finished fifth in the World Championship final in London the following year.

But successive 800m victories at the Monaco Diamond League meeting in 2018 and 2019 offered evidence of his enduring status as one of the world's best two-lap runners.

In 2018, he clocked 1:42.14, and in 2019 he produced the fastest time of the year, 1:41.89. 

Amos was back in the Olympic arena in 2021, reaching the final at the Tokyo Games and finishing fifth.