Kenya’s Mary Moraa beats Athing Mu for 800m gold at World Athletics Championships

On Sunday evening at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Kenya’s Mary Moraa dethroned reigning world champion Athing Mu in the women’s 800m, storming past the Olympic and world champ in the final 200m to win gold in a dazzling personal best time of 1:56.03.

Great Britain’s Keely Hodginson snuck in behind Moraa for her second consecutive silver-medal finish at a world championships, in 1:56:34, and Mu was forced to settle for bronze in 1:56:61. This race marked Mu’s first 800-meter loss since 2021.

Mu swept ahead unchallenged through the start of the race to take the lead, with a deep field of fast athletes staying close behind her. She led a phenomenally fast first lap, Moraa and Hodgkinson both not far behind, with everyone seemingly eager to get on the podium. A few weeks ago it was up in the air as to whether Mu would appear in Budapest to defend her title, with her coach, Bobby Kersee, sharing that she was considering training through the rest of the season to focus on the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Mu tried to hold the lead into the final lap, eager to leave her competitors behind, but Hodgkinson and Moraa took over on the outside with 200m to go and into the home stretch. Mu, who had been edging over to the outside of lane one, was passed by Hodgkinson on the inside.

“I came here for the win,” shared second-place Hodgkinson. “But, three silvers now, that’s consistency.” Hodgkinson didn’t feel she could have done anything differently: “It was quick, that first half,” she said of the 56-flat first 400 meters led by Mu. “The quickest I’ve ever gone.”

Moraa finished her race with a triumphant leap over the finish line, and will head into next year’s Paris Olympics with added confidence. As for Mu, she’s looking forward to a vacation. “I’m OK with where I’m at,” she told media post-race.

posted Tuesday August 29th
by Keeley Milne