Exciting women's 800m in Monaco! Semenya wins, three under 1:56, Ajee' Wilson sets AR in third, 1:55.61, by Stuart Weir

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The Herculis Monaco Meeting is one of the highlights of the summer. Part of it is mid July in Monaco, part of it is three weeks from now, the best athletes in the world will be at the London World Championships.

Here's Stuart Weir's feature on the women's 800 meters.

DSCN0256.JPGAjee' Wilson, after her AR of 1:55.61, photo by Stuart Weir

Women's 800

The women's 8800 metres has a strong claim to be the race of the night. OK that Caster Semanya won but only by 0.2 of a second from Francine Niyonsaba. Now on more than one occasion I have heard Niyonsaba say that she thought Semanya was beatable. As three women battled down the home straight, it was far from certain that Semanya would win.

Let's note a number of things about the race:

Semanya ran a World Lead for 2017, a Meeting Record and a Diamond League Record of 1:55.27 but she only won by 0.2 of a second.

There were three women under 1.56.

Francine Niyonsaba ran a national (Burundi) record.

Ajee' Wilson ran a US record of 1.55.61.

Sifan Hassan (Netherlands) ran a PB of 1:56.81 for 4th,

Melissa Bishop ran a Canadian record of 1.57.01 and was 5th.

The top seven were under 1:58.50.

Semanya said afterwards: "I showed my strength but it was a hard fight until the end. The girls surprised me how good they ran. I made some small technical problems which slowed me down. I knew I should not allow Niyonsaba to take the lead. I think I can run really fast. That is what we are training for".

Ajee' Wilson was ecstatic afterwards, saying: "US Record? Waouh! I hadn't seen that coming. It felt so good to be competitive again".

DSCN0252.JPGA jubilant Ajee' Wilson, photo by Stuart Weir

Despite her excellent 800 time, Sifan Hassan confirmed that she will run 1500m and 5000m in London.

Before tonight Caster Semanya looked odds on for the 800 title in London. After the Monaco race, it all looks that bit tighter with Niyonsaba and Wilson looking capable of beating her. Of course, she was a paced race with Laura Roesler leading the field round in 55.3. London will be tactical race. And who will that suit?

Just to make it more interesting, Semanya, said that she and her coach must decide if the she will only run the 800 in London or if she might add the 400m or the 1500m.

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