How Kenya’s Moraa, 23, ended Mu’s dominance in women’s 800m

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How Kenya’s Moraa, 23, ended Mu’s dominance in women’s 800m

Kenya’s Mary Moraa skipped over the line in joy as she won the women’s 800 metres world title in Budapest on Sunday and ended Athing Mu’s dominance of the event.

The 23-year-old timed a personal best 1min 56.03sec with Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson having to settle for silver like last year, as she finished in 1:56.34.

Mu, the Olympic and defending world champion who has rarely raced this year, finished third in 1:56.61.

The tall Mu had led from the start with Moraa and Hodgkinson keeping tabs on her.

Moraa, though, was the one who was able to keep with the 21-year-old American phenomenon, while Hodgkinson decided to drop off the pace as they heard the bell.

Kenya’s gold medallist Mary Moraa celebrates during the podium ceremony for the women’s 800m during the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on August 27, 2023. (Photo by Antonin THUILLIER / AFP)

Mu moved up a gear down the back straight but Moraa would not let go and as they rounded the bend she was on her shoulder.

Mu still held the lead but as Hodgkinson made her charge down the inside it was Moraa on the outside who got ahead of the American with 30 metres to go.

Hodgkinson also passed Mu but it was too late for her to get gold.

Moraa had the edge and added the title to the Commonwealth Games gold she won last year.

She lay on the track for a few seconds before getting to her feet and dancing in celebration — and her Kenyan teammates on the training track did the same.

“I am pleased to get the gold this time and become the world champion,” said Moraa.

“After bronze last year I wanted to improve and I have.

“Everyone in the final was so fast I knew I would have to have a fast finish.

“I came from a long way behind but I managed to do it.”

Hodgkinson, who filled second behind Moraa at the Commonwealth Games and was beaten by Mu at the Tokyo Olympics, said she had believed she was going to win this race.

“I did think I was going to come up on the inside and the line just came up quicker than I thought it would, but I gave it my all like I always do and I don’t think I put a foot wrong,” she told the BBC.

“This is another silver, not bronze, not gold.

“I really did believe I was going to win…one of these days I will get the top spot.”

Mu took her defeat nonchalantly after a low-key season.

“I was overtaken and from that point I just wanted to finish on the podium,” she said.

“I came here to Budapest with no big expectations and now I am really grateful for this wonderful bronze medal.”

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