This was the second piece by Stuart Weir today, on the 2022 Commonwealth Games, regarding the amazingly hot women’s 800-meter heats.
The women’s 800m is one of the events in which Britain is strongest. Think Olympic and World Championship medals for Keely Hodgkinson. Think three athletes in the 2021 Olympic final. Add the complication of England and Scotland being rivals, not team-mates, and you have a fascinating set of races in prospect.
Doubling up is possible but in a perverse way. If Laura Muir continues with her intention to do so, she will run:
Tuesday 800 prelim
Friday 1500 prelim
Saturday 800 final
Sunday 1500 final
To make sure there was no British monopoly, there was Natoya Goule (Jamaica), a bronze medalist in the 2018 Commonwealths, but a much more mature and complete athlete these days, and East Africans Mary Moraa and Halimah Nakaayi.
The format was three prelims. First two in each race to the final and two more on time. In the first race, Mary Moraa (Kenya) 1:59.22 won over Halimah Nakaayi (Uganda) 1:59.35. If we thought that seemed fast for a Commonwealth Games prelim, wait for the second! Natoya Goule (Jamaica) won in 1:58.39 from Laura Muir (Scotland) at 1:58.84. And to be fair, the pair finished comfortably. Had Muir not settled for second place, the time could have been even faster. In Prelim 3, Keely Hodgkinson (England) at 2:00.18 won over Caroline Bisset (Australia) at 2:00.40. That left Alexandra Bell (England) at 1:59.76 and Lindsey Butterworth (Canada) at 2:00.04 taking the final two places.
Laura Muir commented: ““I felt really good, my intention was to stick on the inside and keep in the top two, and that’s what I did. I had to run fast to do that because the standard here is so high, but it’s great to be in that final. It’s not quite home turf, but it’s close enough. I’m lucky to have a lot of friends and family here along with all the British support”.
It has been a wretched summer for Jemma Reekie (Scotland), eliminated in the semi-final of the 800 in Oregon and missed out on the Commonwealth final by 0.64 of a second. Scotland’s Jenny Selman also failed to progress. She will be disappointed, but I hope she will also give herself credit. I was in Glasgow in February when, aged 30, running two 800m races in the same afternoon, she secured the Commonwealth Games qualification time. A magnificent achievement for an athlete with a full-time job.
The final is on Saturday evening.