The women’s 800m in Stockholm began a new era, post CAS decision, with no athletes who challenge the IAAF standards for gender for women in the 100m to the mile. Stuart Weir added this piece to his series on Stockholm.
The women’s 800m race at the Bauhaus-galan IAAF diamond league was won by Ajee Wilson of USA in 2:00.87. Habitam Alemu (Ethiopia) was second and Nelly Jepkosgei (Kenya) third. Afterwards Wilson commented: “I felt good tonight, really comfortable. Everything went so well. It was a good race. I did what my coach told me to and it worked out. I got out well in the first hundred and had a good position – better than I did in Doha two three weeks ago. I was happy to be in a position to take the lead and after that it is just about maintaining pace and staying strong”.
Wilson ran well and controlled the race. And on the cold and windy evening early in the long season who could complain about a relatively slow time.
But there is an entire back story to this race. The athletes who have won the last 20 women’s 800m races at Diamond Leagues are now deemed to be ineligible because of their testosterone level. Without getting into that issue, the 800m will be completely different this year.
One runner in the race said to me beforehand that tactics will be different. Without Semanya, will other runners try to front run? Will the races be slower and more tactical? Watch this space.
It may just be coincidence but no runner was under 2 minutes but equally it may be a feature of the new territory. Last year a runner finished in under 2 minutes in a Diamond League race 18 times. Elsewhere I have made clear my views on the new IAAF ruling. Whatever your view, one thing is undeniable: the women’s 800m will be a fascinating and and intriguing event this year.