© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated

One of the most anticipated finals of the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships was the women’s 800-metre race.

The three favourites were American Athing Mu, the Tokyo Olympic and Eugene World Athletics Championships gold medallist. Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson finished second to Mu both times. During the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Hodgkinson also finished second to Kenyan Mary Moraa, who had finished third in Eugene. The three were expected to win, place and show, but the question on everyone’s mind was in what order.

Mu was arguably the favourite, however, the 21-year-old has raced very little since moving to Los Angeles to work with coach Bobby Kersee. The question now is, was it a failed experiment? Maybe, however, Mu has said in interviews that she prefers modelling over athletics. Perhaps her head is not fully in the game.

As it turned out, she led through the first 400m lap and as the bell rang she had set the pace at 56.01. This was fast, but not off-the-charts. As the three got into position with 200m to go, Mu had the lead, Moraa was second in lane two, and Hodgkinson, like she was in Eugene, hugged the rail. Again Hodgkinson left the sprint to the straight stretch and caught Mu, but so did Moraa, only better. Moraa leaning back, giving it her all, took the win in the time of 1:56.03. Hodgkinson finished second again and Mu, shockingly was third. She didn’t look happy afterward. Hodgkinson shared on social media that she was not satisfied. Only Moraa was happy. As she crossed the line, she leapt into the air. It was a bonus for Kenya who surprisingly missed out on marathon medals, an event the country typically dominates.

Hodgkinson clocked a 1:56.34 finish time, while Mu recorded a 1:56.61 season-best run.

“It’s always an honour to be a part of and line up in a world final against these talented women, and a privilege to be on yet another global podium, although not satisfied yet, proud of myself for giving it my all!”

Fellow Brit Jemma Reekie acquitted herself well, clocking a 1:57.72 fifth-place finish. It is such a fine line between mid-pack and medalling in the 800m during a global final. Right behind Mu in fourth was teammate Raevyn Rogers in 1:57.45.


1Mary MORAAKEN1:56.03 PB
3Athing MUUSA1:56.61 SB
4Raevyn ROGERSUSA1:57.45 SB
5Jemma REEKIEGBR1:57.72
6Nia AKINSUSA1:57.73 PB
7Adelle TRACEYJAM1:58.41 PB
8Halimah NAKAAYIUGA1:59.18

Medal table

Medal table – top-7

1United StatesUNITED STATES128929
7Great Britain & N.I.GREAT BRITAIN & N.I.23510

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