BUDAPEST, Hungary (27 August) – Mary Moraa of Kenya triumphed in the women’s 800m final at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Sunday, surpassing race favorites Keely Hodgkinson and Athing Mu in a captivating rearrangement of last year’s medalists.
From the onset, Mu, the Olympic and defending champion, set the pace but couldn’t establish a dominant lead, given her limited runs in this distance this season.
Moraa, however, maintained proximity to Mu and unleashed a decisive sprint in the concluding 100 meters. Clocking a personal best of 1:56.03, Moraa secured her gold medal position, improving on the bronze she won at the world track and field championships in Oregon, last summer.
Keely Hodgkinson, aiming to advance that last step to the gold medal after near misses at the last two global championships, came up short once again.
The European champion maneuvered for an inside track down the straight and looked set to final strike gold.
Keely Hodgkinson Couldn’t Match The Speed of Mary Moraa
But while the Great Britain star managed to surpass Athing Mu, Moraa’s final push was unconquerable, and the Kenyan runner wasn’t going to be denied.
Hodgkinson finished with a silver, recording a time of 1:56.34.
Notably, she had previously finished second to Mu at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and to Moraa at the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
Mu, who had been contemplating a shift to the 1,500 meters until she landed in Budapest, completed the 800m final here tonight in a season-best 1:56.61, earning the bronze.
In her post-race reflections, Moraa conveyed her contentment, noting,
“After bronze last year, I wanted to improve, and I have,” Moraa said. “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, while expressing her slight disappointment, remained hopeful for future races.
“Another podium, another medal,” said Hodgkinson, who was winning a third successive global championship silver medal and back-to-back world silvers. “It’s not gold but it’s not bronze.
“I did think I would get through on the inside but the line came a bit quicker than I thought.
“I was really up for it, I really believed I was going to win. It was a different order this year, it might be again next year.
“In Olympic year everyone brings even more of their A game. All I can do is aim for gold again. One of these days I will get the top spot.”
Athing Mu Happy To Make The Podium In Budapest
In the meantime, Athing Mu, who had tempered her expectations for the event, shared her appreciation for the bronze, especially after running out of steam in the closing meters.
She said: “I came here to Budapest with no big expectations, and now I am really grateful for this wonderful bronze medal.
“I wanted to slow the pace a little bit since I knew it would be a killer finish. Once I was overtaken from that point, I just wanted to finish on the podium.”
Her USA compatriots, Raevyn Rogers, and Nia Akins also performed admirably, despite not making the podium.
Rogers clocked in at a season-best of 1:57.45 for fourth, while Akins ran a personal best of 1:57.73 for sixth.
Jamaica’s Adelle Tracey also ran a PB of 1:58.41 for seventh place.
PHOTO: Mary Moraa of Kenya dances after winning the women’s 800m final at the world athletics championships. Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images for World Athletics