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September 21, 2017

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Amos beats Rudisha, Okagbare speeds to sprint double

GLASGOW, Scotland -- Botswanan tyro Nijel Amos trumped world record holder David Rudisha in thrilling style over 800 meters at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday.

In another high-quality track and field session at Hampden Park, Nigerian Blessing Okagbare claimed a women's sprint double, dominating the 200-meter after first striking gold in Monday's 100-meter.

And Rasheed Dwyer led a Jamaican cleansweep of the men's 200-meter to emulate teammate Kemar Bailey-Cole's victory in the 100-meter, the two sprint golds going some way to make up for the absence of Usain Bolt, who will only compete in the 4x100-meter relay.

Kenya's Rudisha, who set a blistering world record when winning Olympic gold in London, had finished ahead of silver medalist Amos in the British capital in 2012.

But there was revenge in the wet Glasgow air, Amos producing a sublime, fast-paced finish to outdo his Kenyan nemesis, clocking 1 minute 45.18, with Rudisha at 0.30 seconds.

Rudisha started in the lane inside Amos and, as usual, made sure he went straight out to the front of the pack when it broke, the Botswanan and Australian Jeffrey Riseley on his coattails.

Going through the bell in 52.71 seconds, the pack remained bunched behind Rudisha. His Kenyan teammate Ferguson Rotich surged, Rudisha stuck with him, Amos lurking on their shoulder.

Rudisha looked set as he rounded the final bend in the lead, but he had not counted on Amos' finishing kick, the 20-year-old Botswanan pushed out wide by Riseley and flying past him in the final 30 meters, teeth gritted and arms out-stretched.

South African Andre Olivier took bronze in 1:46.03.

"The race was good but the last 100 meters was difficult. I didn't have good preparations," Rudisha said in reference to a calf injury that only saw him make his track comeback in May.

"I am happy to achieve what I have although I would, of course, liked to have won a gold medal.

"Amos is a tough competitor. We were racing together in a tactical race but he was better tonight."

Amos was quick to heap praise on Rudisha, saying: "This gentleman will always be the hero of the 800-meter.

"I don't think I'm the man," he added modestly. "I will only be the man when I have broken the world record five times.

"I'd like next year to come back together (with Rudisha) to break the world record. I don't care who breaks it, me or Rudisha."

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