Will Athing Mu compete at the World Athletics Championships 2023?

Athing Mu, the reigning Olympic and world champion in the women's 800 meters, is currently contemplating whether she will defend her title at the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest or focus on training for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Athing Mu in the women's 800m heat at the World Athletics Championships 2022

Athing Mu, a dominant figure in the world of track and field and the reigning Olympic and world champion in the women’s 800 meters, has yet to confirm whether she will defend her title at the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest. The decision has been under scrutiny for weeks and is expected to be finalized in the coming days, according recent reports in the LA Times.

At just 21 years old, Mu has already amassed a wealth of accolades, including two Olympic golds in 2021 for the 800 meters and the 4×400-meter relay. Additionally, she secured the 800 meters World Championships in 2022, along with three national titles.

Her talent extends to the collegiate level as well, having claimed the 400-meter NCAA Championship, 4×400-meter NCAA Championship, and 4×400-meter NCAA Indoor Championship, all in 2021.

What are the 2023 results for Athing Mu?

In the 2023 season, Mu has shown an impressive form as highlighted her latest track and field 2023 results.

During the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field, Eugene, in July, she clocked 4:10.33 and 4:03.44 in the heats and final of the 1500 meters event, respectively, securing second place in the decider.

Athing Mu in the women's 800m at the World Athletics Championships 800 results
Athing Mu of Team United States competes in the Women’s 800m Semi-Final on day eight of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 22, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images for World Athletics)

Meanwhile, she also claimed victory in an 800 meters race at the 2023 USATF NYC Grand Prix in New York, recording a solid 1:58.73 and had looked very comfortable in doing so as well.

Despite these achievements, Mu remains undecided on her participation in Budapest. Her coach, Bobby Kersee of the Los Angeles-based Formula Kersee training group, revealed that the decision is still in limbo.

“Our thought process, openly, is that we’re going to just train here in L.A. for the next two weeks and the next time she gets on the plane, it’ll either be on vacation or to Budapest,” Kersee commented in the LA Times.

While the world awaits Athing Mu’s decision, she has withdrawn from the 400 meters at the Ed Murphey Classic in Memphis, Tenn., as a “precautionary measure ahead of the World Championships,” according to meet director, Max Paquette.

However, this will not affect her guaranteed spot in the Budapest field or the opportunities of other U.S. runners.

Kersee added that if Mu decides to run at this month’s world championships, it would solely be in the 800 meters., not on any U.S. relay. Mu’s focus remains solely on individual honors, despite her remarkable relay experience.

The COVID-19 pandemic has compressed the sport’s championships into a tight timeline, with a world championships or Olympics happening every year from 2021 through 2025.

Athing Mu in the women's 800m during Millrose Games
Athing Mu at the Millrose Games at The Armory. Photo by John Nepolitan

Kersee expressed his understanding of the immense workload demanded of elite athletes like Mu in such circumstances.

The women’s 800 meters semifinals at the world track and field championships are scheduled for Aug. 25, with the final set for Aug. 27. Until then, the athletic community will continue to speculate on whether Athing Mu will take her spot on the start line or opt for a different course.

This story is based on an article originally published in the Los Angeles Times.

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