Stuart Weir, in his first piece on the Stockholm DL, looks at the women’s 800m. While not reading Tarot cards or suggesting animal sacrifice, Stuart Weir does suggest that the Stockholm 800m and the quality of the field just hint at how tough it will be to get into the final in Tokyo in the women’s 800m.
The women’s 800 will be one of the most hotly contested events in Tokyo this year.
The US trials saw Athing Mu win in 1:56.07 with the first eight athletes finishing under 2m.
Natoya Goule won the Jamaican trials in 1:57.84. The top three in the British Championship were Keely Hodgkinson, Jemma Reekie, and Laura Muir. Hodgkinson is 19 and won the European Indoors this year. Reekie has run eight 800s this year – six wins and two second-place finishes.
The race in Stockholm was eagerly awaited with the three British girls having a re-run of last week’s British championships. Sadly Muir and Reekie had to withdraw under Covid protocols, having been in contact with someone who subsequently tested negative, but too late to allow them to travel.
The Stockholm race was a cracker (as we say in UK). The result was:
1 ALMANZA Rose Mary CUB 1:56.28 PRMPRR PB
2 GOULE Natoya JAM 1:56.44 SB
3 GRACE Kate USA 1:57.36 PRPPRBPR
4 HODGKINSON Keely GBR 1:57.51 PRB
5 BISSET Catriona AUS 1:59.13
6 LINDH Lovisa SWE 1:59.76 SB
7 HYNNE Hedda NOR 1:59.82
I suspect that if you had offered Natoya Goule 1:56.44 beforehand she would have bitten your hand off. She would never have thought you were offering her second place!
Keely Hodgkinson is on a steep learning curve. In September last year, she ran a new PR 2:01.73. Now she is running a time four seconds faster and she is fourth in a Diamond League.
The final point to make is that we are talking here about a race with a pacemaker who completed the first lap in 56.74. Last weekend Hodgkinson was winning the British title in a cagey race off a first lap in just under 62. Tokyo will be a race with no pacemaker. It could be fast or tactical. What is clear to me is that there are at least 10 girls who are potential medal winners. Only three will win medals and some will not even make the final. But it is going to be some race.