Eunice Sum, photo by PhotoRun.net
As readers of RunBlogRun know, Justin Lagat writes for RBR to provide us a Kenyan view of the events in our sport! This column is no different, as he writes about the changes in the 800 meters. I am particularly fond of his comments on the young new star, Ajee’ Wilson. Justin Lagat is correct about another thing: the 800 meters in Beijing next year will be epic!
Eunice Sum wins the women 800m gold medal expected by Kenyans in Glasgow, by Justin Lagat
Last year, it was an un-expected gold medal that had come from Eunice Sum in Moscow. It was termed by many as a “surprise gold medal” for Kenyans at the world championships, but ironically, the gold medal that was highly expected to come to Kenya this year at the Commonwealth Games was the one from her. A great change of status within a year.
During the race, Eunice Sum did not appear to struggle as she glanced around at the last bend before accelerating towards the finish line staying clear ahead of the rest to crossed the line in 2:00.31, Lindsey Sharp of Scotland followed in 2:01.34 while Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo finished third in 2:01.38.
Kenya had also won a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games through Nancy Lang’at and just like it was at the Glasgow Games, failed to secure the silver and bronze medals.
The other Kenyan who had started in the women 800m event, and who is often refers to, by Sum, as one of her role models and mentors, did not sail past the semi-finals. Janeth Jepkosgei has won her country an impressive number of medals as one athlete who has remained in competition for a very long time having started to win medals for the country from as early as 2001 at the African Junior Championships while still a junior athlete.
However, like Ezekiel Kemboi, Janeth has also expressed her desire to retire from competitive athletics after this year’s Commonwealth Games. At some point in her career, she had attempted to move up to the 1500m when she began to feel that her speed for the 800m event was diminishing, but it appeared as though the distance did not work well for her and she quickly moved back to running the 800m. She is now thinking about handing over the mantle to other upstarts like Eunice Sum to take over.
From the “surprise” win in Moscow, Eunice Sum has continued to shine and to remain dominant in the 800m event winning in four consecutive IAAF Diamond League meetings this season, only settling for a second position when Ajee Wilson of USA surprised everyone at the recent Monaco Diamond League by beating her.
For now, it appears that the battle for the gold medal at the world championships next year will not be that easy for Sum with the emergence of this upstart from the US.