When was the last time world and Olympic 800m champion Athing Mu lost a race?
The American doubled up on titles as she edged passed British runner Keely Hodgkinson in a nailbiting finish on the final day in Oregon.
“Today, it was a little bit harder but it was very nice to do it at home - 1,000 percent.” That was how the new 800m world champion, Athing Mu, calmly reacted to her victory as Oregon22 draw to its close. But what a final straight she, and the rest of us watching on had to endure.
Mu takes 800m gold to keep winning streak going
The American Olympic and now world champion, Mu, is still only 20-years old but demonstrated all of her experience to finish ahead of Keely Hodgkinson, a British gold hopeful. As the two runners came round the penultimate bend on Sunday, Mu took up the running but Hodgkinson wasn’t going to let her out of reach and went with her, and as they entered the final straight it was the Brit, who won silver in Tokyo, who looked set to claim her revenge. A gap opened up and she went after it.
In related news:
But Mu was wise to her competitor’s plan and eased herself back into the space, blocking Hodgkinson out in a legal manner, and crossing the line in one minute, 56.30 seconds, just eigth one-hundredths of a second ahead. Kenya’s Mary Moraa won the battle for bronze with a PB of 1:56.71, while Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji just missed out on the medals her own best time of 1:57.02.
The winning streak for Mu continues with this race, meaning that she hasn’t lost an 800m contest since February 2020, almost two and a half years ago.
Speaking after the event, Mu was delighted.
“It was a fast competition and I love competing against other fast women,” Mu said, who was given the honour of collecting the inaugural championships team trophy for the US from the head of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe.
“I really just wanted to be consistent this year and to continue with the wins that I have been having,” she continued. “Today, it was a little bit harder but it was very nice to do it at home - 1,000 percent. The crowd is amazing.”
When asked about that late scare she replied: “I didn’t want to automatically go to the inside. I don’t really pay attention to where I’m at in the lane.”
Hodgkinson lamented the missed opportunity in those final metres, but was already looking to the future.
“I went to the inside, but the gap wasn’t there. I ran to the line, gave it everything and I am happy with world silver,” the Brit said. “I got so close, but it is what it is and I am proud to have given myself a chance out there. Athing is a great athlete. We are both 20 and have many years ahead of us and we’ll meet on a world podium again.”