Aug 12, 2013 8:15 PM by Andrew Masuda
Lompoc native Duane Solomon is set to go for the gold on Tuesday in Russia at the IAAF World Championships. The 28 year old is one of eight men in the 800 meters final.
The Cabrillo High graduate won his preliminary and semifinal heat to earn a spot in the final. He entered Russia with the fastest time in the world this season of 1:43.27, which he ran in late June when he captured his first-career USA outdoor title.
Solomon's biggest threats to a gold medal in the final may be Ethiopia's Mohammed Aman and fellow American and Solomon's rival Nick Symmonds, who just beat Solomon during a Diamond League meet in London a few weeks ago.
Solomon's strategy in a race is often to surge to the front of the pack early and dictate the pace in hopes of holding on to the lead to the finish line. Solomon said he was confident if he and his coach Johnny Gray, the American record holder in the 800, decided to go with the same strategy, he could pull it off.
"If we were to lead it's going to have to be really aggressive to take the kick out of most of these guys because all these guys have a really good kick. But I believe in my strength and if we can go out there and really push it to them I think we can hold on and bring home this gold," said Solomon, who finished fourth in the 2012 London Olympics.
An American has not medaled in the men's 800 at Worlds since 1997.
Solomon's career-best time in the 800 is 1:42.82. Aman's career best is 1:42.53, while Symmonds' top time is 1:42.95. Ayanieh Souleiman is also in the mix with a top time this season of 1:43.63.
The 800 final is set to take place at 10:10 am California time on Tuesday morning. It is slated to air live on Universal Sports Network or UniversalSports.com.
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