TOKYO, Japan – US Olympic Trials champion Athing Mu secured passage to the final of the women’s 800m at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but her teammate Ajee Wilson and world No. 2 ranked Rose Mary Almanza of Cuba were among the highlighted athletes who missed out on the second day of the athletics competition on Saturday.
Mu who leads the world with a personal best of 1:56.07, cruised into the final of the event when she stopped the clock at a well-relaxed 1:58.07 to win her semifinal heat. And if her current form is anything to go with, then I will say it is unlikely anyone here in Tokyo is going to beat this teenage “prodigy.”
The 19-year-old ushered Habitam Alemu of Ethiopia who ran 1:58.40 in the semis, with Great Britain’s Alexandra Bell also advancing from the heat with 1:58.83.
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Another impressive heat winner was Jamaican champion Natoya Goule who clocked 1:59.57, looking easy when winning heat one of the semifinals. Goule is the No. 3 ranked women’s 800m runner this season with 1:56.44.
“This is the best I have ever been in my life,” Goule told the Jamaica Gleaner this week. “With this preparation coming in, I am just looking forward to seeing what God’s plan is for me because I am really ready.
“I definitely can get on the medal podium if I go out there and execute my race properly. I definitely can because I am in the shape to do it.”
European indoor champion Keely Hodgkinson won the third semifinals with a time of 1:59.12, but the most surprising qualifier for the final came from this same semis, after China’s Wang Chunyu ran a personal best of 1:59.14 to finish second to the British teen.
American Raevyn Rogers, the world championships silver medalist from Doha in 2019, also advanced to the final, which will take place on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, world bronze medallist Ajee Wilson of the USA who had posted a time of 1:57.85 in a mixed-gender race before Tokyo 2020, was only fourth in her semifinal in 2:00.79, while world champion Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda clocked 2:04.44 for last-place in the same semis. Both athletes missed out.
Also failing to progress was Cuban world No. 2 ranked Rose Mary Almanza after she could a 1:59.65 performance for fourth place in semifinal three. The Cuban is the second-fastest women’s 800m runner this year with 1:56.28.
Mu is definitely the woman to beat in the final, but don’t sleep on the likes of Goule, Alemu, Reekie, and Hodgkinson.
Click here for the results of the women’s 800m semifinals