Wilson Favoured For World Champs Gold In Semenya’s Absence

Two years ago at the IAAF World Championships American Ajee Wilson finished with a bronze medal but she will start in Doha as favourite for the gold.

Wilson has been steadily improving and apart from South Africa’s Caster Semenya, who is barred from competing if she does not agree to use testosterone limiting drugs, has been the best runner of the distance this year.

The 25-year-old American has won back-to-back silver medals at the last two World Indoor Championships and the bronze medal outdoors in 2017.

Wilson won six of her eight races outdoors in 2019, including the US national title – her tenth overall – and Diamond League stops in Stockholm, Monaco and Birmingham before cruising to victory in the series finals in Brussels.

African challengers for Wilson

In the absence of Semenya, Africa’s best hope for a women’s 800m medal at the World Athletics Championships in Doha is Kenyan Eunice Sum.

Sum was the 2013 world champion and won a bronze medal in 2015. The 31-year-old clocked a 1:58.99 season’s best at altitude in the Kenyan Trials, finishing second to earn a trip to the global championships for the third time.

Another strong African runner is Winnie Nanyondo of Uganda who who clocked 1:58.83 in Monaco. Nanyondo usually favours the 1500 metres in which she broke her countries national record earlier this year. She is ranked 13th in the world in the 800 metres by the IAAF and sixth in the 1500m.

Championships wide open

The women’s 800 metres has been dominated by Semenya in recent times with the chasing pack all quite closely matched, which leaves the race hanging in the balance.

“Jamaican champion Natoya Goule has pieced together a notable season, winning the Pan-American Games title, finished second in Paris and Monaco, the latter with a 1:57.90 season’s best, but slid to a distant fifth at the Diamond League final,” Bob Ramsak writes for the IAAF event preview

“Wilson’s teammate Raevyn Rogers could also be factor. The 23-year-old clocked her 1:58.65 season’s best at the Prefontaine Classic in Stanford on 30 June, finished third at the US championships to earn her Doha ticket, and finished second in Brussels behind Wilson to ride solid momentum to the Qatari capital.

“Lynsey Sharp, the 2012 European champion who was sixth at the Olympic Games in Rio three years ago, is still chasing an elusive world championships medal. Eighth at these championships two years ago, the 29-year-old clocked 1:58.61 to win in London in July and later finished second at Birmingham’s Diamond League fixture and at the national championships but could do no better than sixth in Brussels where the Diamond Trophy was on the line.”

The Women’s 800 metre heats take place on Friday 27 September at 14:10, the semis on Saturday at 16:15 and the final on Monday at 19:10. 


Written by How South Africa

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