Osagie tipped for World medal
Guy Aspin focuses on 800m Andrew Osagie as he looks ahead to the athletics year to come.
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The men's 800m final was, by common consensus, the greatest race the Olympic Stadium crowd witnessed at London 2012.
It featured a scarcely-believable run and world record for gold medallist David Rudisha, picked out by Games chief Sebastian Coe as his personal highlight of the summer.
The silver medal winner, Botswana's Nigel Amos, ran a world junior record; third, fourth and fifth all ran personal bests; sixth ran an Ethiopian national record; seventh ran a season's best.
And there was also a breakthrough performance from the man who finished last.
The only Briton in the field, Andrew Osagie, trailed home eighth in a time which would have won the previous three Olympic Games.
His time of one minute 43.77 seconds was more than a second-and-a-half faster than his personal best at the start of the year and sealed his place among the world's best.
The 24-year-old Essex boy can now look forward to next year's World Championships in Moscow, and embark on the four-year road to the Rio Olympics, with huge confidence.
And former world record holder Coe offered his own words of encouragement.
"I think his progress has been fantastic," Coe said.
"If you said to Andrew Osagie at the beginning of the season you are going to run 1:43.8 in the final of the Olympic Games I think he would have taken that.
"I think he really showed maturity through those Games and I think that will be a great platform for the rest of his career."
Osagie, whose first complete international season also heralded a world indoor bronze medal, admitted after the Olympic final his aim had been to run 1:44.
The Harlow athlete is therefore ahead of schedule in his progression and Coe reckons he can be a medal contender in Moscow.
Coe added: "Absolutely. You enter an Olympic final then you are quite capable of getting into a World Championship final and if you are in a final you can win medals.
"I really hope that Andrew Osagie believes he can beat David Rudisha in Moscow.
"I'm not saying that is the easiest ambition to realise, but there is no reason why Andrew Osagie should not be going to training believing he is quite capable of winning a medal in Moscow next year."
Belief is one thing Osagie does not have a problem with, especially now he is ranked fourth on the British all-time list behind Coe, Steve Cram and Peter Elliott, all three Olympic medallists.
It is not bad company to be in.
But the two-time reigning UK champion knows better than anyone his event is now perhaps the toughest in the sport - and should only get harder.
Rudisha is only 23, while Amos, Olympic bronze medallist and Rudisha's compatriot Timothy Kitum and Mohammed Aman, another Olympic finalist, are all just 18.
Ethiopian Aman even achieved the seemingly impossible by beating Rudisha this year, albeit at the end of August when the Kenyan, quite understandably, would have still been basking in the glory of his Olympic feat.
"When he performs like that in the third round of an Olympic Games there are not many people who can beat him," Osagie said of Rudisha in the wake of his record-breaking run.
Doing so only once, in four years time in the summer heat of Brazil, would probably suit him just fine.