Emmanuel Korir, former UTEP student, wins the world championship in the 800 meters

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EUGENE, Ore. — Emmanuel Korir was golden when it mattered most.

At the end of a year in which Korir entered the World Championships in Athletics as the 61st fastest runner in the 800 meters this year, and he was the slowest in Saturday’s final, Korir reminded everyone why he owned an Olympic gold medal.

He now has a World Championship gold medal, perfectly timing his sprint over the final 200 meters as he leapt from fourth to first place.

After:Results of the World Athletics Championships in the 800 meters

The former UTEP star and current El Pasoan made it look easy and routine, but said it was anything but.

“It was tough,” Korir said. “I got my rhythm on the last 200 meters. I know (Marco from Canada) Arop was there and was strong, the other guys behind were strong. The last 200 meters, I said, “Let me go and I’ll see if I can do it.

“It happened.”

Korir shifted from fourth to second around the back corner, then charged forward on the exit of the corner. As was the case with his gold medal in Tokyo, no one challenged him remotely down the stretch. He won in 1 minute 43.71 seconds, a far cry from his personal best of 1:42.05 but better than his season best of 1:45.38.

Previous:Emmanuel Korir passes to the final of the Worlds

“I expected someone to come, but no one did,” Korir said. “I never shake my end (of his races) in training but I do in races. It’s like magic. I worked for this.

“It’s been a long wait, I failed in 2017 and 2019 and I’ve succeeded now.”

Korir failed to qualify for the 800m final in 17 and 19.

This year didn’t look more promising as Korir had to deal with a calf injury that kept him from having a good time on the board. He regained his health just in time.

“I suffered from injuries, but now I feel good,” Korir said. “I’ve been feeling good for a few weeks. I knew I wasn’t in good shape because of the injuries, but I wanted to do my best here. And now I’m here.

“To be honest, I’m not fresh. I was struggling, but inside I was holding on.

Right now, Korir’s “wrestling” is once again the best in the world.

Bret Bloomquist can be reached at 915-546-6359; [email protected]; @Bretbloomquist on Twitter.

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