By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2022 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
EUGENE (21-Jul) — On a night that left Hayward Field rocking after Americans Noah Lyles, Kenny Bednarek and Erriyon Knighton swept the 200m, qualifying in the men’s and women’s 800m and the men’s 5000m was admittedly less electric here at Hayward Field in Eugene on Thursday’s (21) Day 7 at the World Athletics Championships.
Nonetheless, nearly all of the favorites advanced in those events, including the women’s 800m where Americans Athing Mu, Ajee’ Wilson, and Raevyn Rogers, plus Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson all made progress to the semi-final.
Mu, who is just 20, made her first appearance at a World Athletics Championships here in Oregon, Thursday night in the preliminary round. Running in the third of six heats, she controlled the pace from gun to tape, and won unpressed in an energy-saving 2:01.30.
“It felt pretty good,” Mu casually told reporters with a surgical mask around her chin. “I mean, first round. I thought it was going to be more intense on my legs just because I haven’t competed in about a month.
“But, felt really good, really smooth, just kind of going out there and taking the pace on my own and just bringing it home.”
Americans Advance in women’s 800m, but it was physical
Both of Mu’s American teammates, Raevyn Rogers and Ajee’ Wilson, advanced to the semi-finals as well. Rogers, who earned the bronze medal in Tokyo last August and ran in heat five, found herself bottled up in traffic most of her heat.
As she rounded the final bend in fifth position, she went to the outside and surged past the four women in front of her —Habitam Alemu of Ethiopia, Noelie Yarigo of Benin, Prudence Sekgodiso of South Africa, and Chrisann Gordon-Powell of Jamaica– to take the win in 2:01.36. She only finished 1/100th of a second ahead of Alemu, pipping her at the line.
When asked by reporters if she had planned that kind of come-from-behind race, she laughed.
“No, not at all,” Rogers said. “Luckily, I’ve done the 1500 and it was just as physical. After yesterday seeing how physical the boys were I just knew that that was going to happen today, too, for us. It was definitely physical.
“There were a couple of times in the race where I really had to adjust mentally. But things like that, you can’t let it affect you.”
Wilson, who finished third in heat four, had a less dramatic race. She finished third behind France’s Renelle Lamote and Ethiopia’s Freweyni Hailu in 2:01.02 and landed Team USATF’s third automatic qualifier to tomorrow’s semi-finals.
“Watching the men race yesterday, there was so much action and we really wanted to avoid that,” said Wilson.
“I just need to make sure I put myself in a good position. Weather conditions were good. It was hot, but as bad it was for the Trials last year.”
Keely Hodgkinson makes progress as well – World Athletics Championships 800m
Also advancing was 2021 Olympic silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain. She led heat two out of the final bend and won going away in 2:00.88 undisturbed by an athlete collision behind her. Australia’s Catriona Bisset, who had led for the first 600 meters, tangled legs with Italy’s Elaina Bello’ in front of her.
Bisset fell hard to the track, face first, and although Bello’ was able to stay on her feet she only finished sixth in 2:02.78. Luckily, both women were advanced to the semi-finals by race officials.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be such a quick pace at 400m and I am just happy to get through,” said Hodgkinson who, like Mu, is only 20. She continued: “I got my ankle clipped a few times but I’m grateful to come through safely.”
Other athletes with good medal chances who advanced were Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji, who posted the round’s fastest time of 1:58.83; Britain’s Jemma Reekie, who finished behind Welteji in heat 1 in 1:59.09; Uganda’s Halima Nakaayi; Jamaica’s Natoya Goule; and Kenya’s Mary Moraa.
PHOTO: Athing Mu of the United States wins her preliminary heat in the 800m at the 2022 World Athletics Championships (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
WOMEN’S 800M RESULTS – HEATS SUMMARY – JULY 21, 2022
|3||3||1||JAM||Adelle TRACEY||1:59.20 PB||Q|
|12||4||6||GER||Majtie KOLBERG||2:01.21 =SB|
|27||4||3||CUB||Rose Mary ALMANZA||2:01.96|
|30||5||1||KEN||Jarinter Mawia MWASYA||2:02.35|
|37||8||1||MEX||Mariela Luisa REAL||2:03.24|