It has not been one of Kenya’s best world championship outings so far, in Budapest, and Mary Moraa’s win and dance in the 800m semi-final was quite reassuring for Kenyan fans. It put a little smile on their faces. The country has won just one gold medal -through Faith Kipyegon in the women’s 1500m race- less than two days before the championships’ end.
Out of all the nine races she has run this year, Moraa has remained unbeaten, and she now has just one more race to maintain her winning streak and become a world champion. One point to note is that Moraa has been able to defeat the two big protagonists this year ahead of the finals on the 27th. She defeated Keely Hodgkinson last month at the Laussane Diamond League and just did the same to Mu in the semi-finals.
Hodgkinson of Great Britain won the first heat of the 800m tonight in 1:58.48 ahead of USA’s Nia Akins, who ran a personal best time of 1:58.61.
Jemma Reekie of Great Britain took the second heat in 2:00.28, with Raevyn Rogers of USA coming second in 2:00.47.
In the third, final, and fastest of the heats, Moraa ran to win in 1:58.48 ahead of USA’s Athing Mu, who ran 1:58.78 for second place. At the 500m mark, Mu had almost fallen down after an incident where another runner appeared to have collided with her, but she fought her way back to the front and got there on the home stretch. Being the fastest heat, Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda (1:58.89) and Adelle Tracey of Jamaica (1:58.99) got the two non-automatic qualifications.
The 800m heats were the only distance events of the evening, happening ahead of the highly awaited 200m finals for both the men and the women.
The climax of the evening saw Noah Lyles run a fantastic 19.52 to win gold ahead of Erriyon KNIGHTON of USA (19.75)and Letsile TEBOGO of Botswana (19.81).
Like Lyles, Jamaica’s Sherika Jackson also defended her title in a new championship record of 21.41 ahead of Gabrielle Thomas and Sha’Carri Richardson of the USA in 21.81 and 21.92 (PB), respectively.