Olympic champion Athing Mu doubtful for 2023 World Athletics Championships

Defending 800m champion Athing Mu is contemplating the possibility of forgoing the 2023 World Athletics Championships to concentrate her training efforts on preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medalist finished second in the 1,500m at the U.S. National Trials last July, behind Nikki Hiltz. Despite this, she declared her intention to focus on the 800m in Budapest.

However, on Wednesday (2 August) her coach Bobby Kersee said Mu’s participation in the Worlds is still a decision they are mulling over.

“It’s in our control if we decide we’re just going to go ahead and train through this year and focus on next year, then that’s what we’re going to do,” he told LA Times.

“The training is going well but 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.”

The 21-year-old, who won the 800m gold in Oregon last year, has even withdrawn from a build-up race at the Ed Murphey Classic in Memphis, Tennessee. Mu was initially scheduled to compete in the 400m this weekend.

Throughout this season, she has only participated in three races: the 800m race she triumphed in at the NYC Grand Prix in June, as well as the 1,500m qualifying race and final at the U.S. Championships.

Should she decide not to compete in Budapest, Team USA, which has the opportunity to field four runners, will feature Nia Akins, the Trials winner, along with Raevyn Rogers and Kaela Edwards, who secured second and third positions, respectively.

Mu's absence will elevate Olympic and world silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson of Team GB, as well as Kenya'sMary Moraa, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion and third-place finisher at the 2022 Worlds, as the favorites for the gold in Budapest.

posted Friday August 4th