© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated
The final meet of the 2023 Diamond League Series, the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, OR goes this weekend and the fields are deep. In the women’s 800-metre event, all three medallists from the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships are going to toe the line.
Mary Moraa of Kenya, Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain and surprisingly Athing Mu of the US will be racing. They finished in gold, silver and bronze positions, respectively, in Budapest. The three are familiar with each other as they also finish 1-2-3 at the Tokyo Olympic Games and Eugene World Athletics Championships, which is taking place at the same Hayward Field.
Mu, who won Tokyo and Eugene gold did not fare so well in Budapest. Her bronze was a surprise. After the meet, she said to the media “I can go home and finally go on vacation and stop thinking about track & field.”
Something changed her mind. Either her coach Bobby Kersee has had her run some workouts and got her into a peak or perhaps Nike, her sponsor, demanded that she run.
In either case, she may not be happy about it. Perhaps she just needs a better performance to end the season on a higher note; redemption.
Also scheduled to run is fifth-place Budapest finisher Jemma Reekie of Great Britain and Uganda’s Halimah Najaayi, who finished last, but does have a season and personal-best performance of 1:57.62.
|Country||Name||Season best||Personal best|
Budapest final results
Women’s 800m Final – Sunday, August 27
|1||Mary MORAA||KEN||1:56.03 PB|
|3||Athing MU||USA||1:56.61 SB|
|4||Raevyn ROGERS||USA||1:57.45 SB|
|6||Nia AKINS||USA||1:57.73 PB|
|7||Adelle TRACEY||JAM||1:58.41 PB|
Prefontaine is a two-day meet
In addition to the intriguing women’s 800m race, American sprinter Noah Lyles, who has grabbed the media and NBA’s attention is racing and promises fireworks. Lyles earned golds in the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m events in Budapest. After the meet, he told the media
“You know the thing that really hurts me the most is that I have to watch the NBA finals and they have ‘world champion’ on their head.”
“World Champion of what? The United States?”
NBA players came after him on social media including Kevin Durant, and famed coach Gregg Popovich as did rapper Drake, among others.
Lyles had the last laugh as the FIBA Basketball World Cup that was going on at the same time resulted in the US losing to Germany to knock them out of the chance to play for gold. They lost again to Canada to finish fourth. Team USA’s roster was full of NBA players. He is a six-time world champion. Lyles will be running the 100m. See start list. He will be up against fellow American Christian Coleman and a few others who have run in the 9.8-range.
Norway’s Jacob Ingebrigtsen is racing the mile. While the wunderkind seems unbeatable, he has indeed been defeated in the 1500m event at back-to-back world championships first by Jake Wightman, then by Josh Kerr, both from Great Britain. Neither of whom are in the race, but another British athlete is in George Mills who has a season and personal best of 3:49.64, not as fast as Ingebrigtsen, but who knows if the Norwegian peaked trying to win in Budapest?
Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda holds world records in the 5000m and 10,000m events and a world best in the 15K. He will be racing the 3000m against Ingebrigtsen. The race holds great intrigue, as it is anyone’s guess if Cheptegei can hold his standard at the shorter 3000m and whether Ingebrigtsen can win over two events. The field is stacked and includes North American record holder Grant Fisher with his impressive 7:28.48.
How to watch
In Canada: CBC Sports.
In the Great Britain: The BBC.