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London Olympic Games 2012: 800m Women’s race preview

Updated on July 27, 2012
(L-R) Pamela Jelimo of Kenya and Maggie Vessey of USA compete in past championships
(L-R) Pamela Jelimo of Kenya and Maggie Vessey of USA compete in past championships | Source

London Olympics 800m Women final is a race that you should expect lot of surprises and upsets. It is one of the unpredictable races in Olympics mostly because the pace can either be slow or fast. The Ultimate winner is the one who is mentally prepared but the finishing speedy kick also matters a lot.

Maria Mutola of Mozambique fondly referred to as “The Maputo Express” by media, dominated this event for many years. She won a total of 13 gold medals in her sporting career including the Olympic gold medal she won in Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.

The world record of in this race stands at 1.53.28 which was set by Jarmila Kratochvílová of Czechoslovakia in Munich Germany (then West Germany) in 1983. It is one of the records that have stood the test of time.

The reigning Olympic champion in this race is Pamela Jelimo of Kenya with a time of 1:54.87. She won gold in Beijing Olympics, 2008. Defending world champion in this race is Mariya Savinova of Russia with a time of 1:55.87. These two will lineup in London Olympics.

Pamela has been off form for most of the season and her place has been taken by Caster Semenya of South Africa and Mariya Savinova of Russia who won a gold medal in Daegu World Championships, 2011.

In recent competitions, Pamela Jelimo has proven to come back and has already shown the urge to defend her Olympic title in London by winning several Samsung Diamond League meets this season and she is the World indoor champion.

Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya has been a consistent runner and she was the world champion in Osaka, 2007. She won a silver medal in Beijing, 2008 and Berlin 2009 and a bronze medal in Daegu 2011.

Jepkosgei also won in Hengelo this year with a time of 1:57.79 proving that she was not a dispensed force as London Olympics beckon. Winnie Chebet, the 2007 World Youth champion, completes the London Olympics team Kenya lineup in 800m.

(L-R) Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya and Caster Semenya of South Africa compete in the women's 800 Metres in past Championships
(L-R) Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya and Caster Semenya of South Africa compete in the women's 800 Metres in past Championships | Source
The great Maria Mutola of Mozambique
The great Maria Mutola of Mozambique | Source
Mariya Savinova of Russia
Mariya Savinova of Russia | Source

Ever since Caster Semenya was entangled in seedy allegations about her gender that saw her cast into limbo of doubts, she has not really attained her top form that saw her clock a jaw-dropping personal best of 1:55.45 while storming into victory at the 2009 world championships in Berlin.

It will be interesting to watch how defending Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo will defend her title against elite athletes like her compatriots Janeth Jepkosgei, Winnie Chebet, South African Caster Semenya.

Also, Mariya Savinova, Yuliya Rusanova and Yevgeniya Zinurova of Russia, Jennifer Meadows of Great Britain, Maggie Vessey and Alysia Montano of USA, Ethiopian Fantu Magiso and Kenia Sinclair of Jamaica.

Each of these athletes will be aiming the ultimate price in London, nothing short of gold. When you have Olympic champion and world champions in the same lineup at the finals, what you expect is a breathtaking performance.

Alysia Montano of USA and Ethiopian Fantu Magiso will provide a spectacle in the finals. Each has won a Samsung Diamond League meet this season and will not mind the honor of an Olympic gold medal.

Alysia Montano won the USA Olympics trials along with Geena Gall and Alice Schmidt. It will be thrilling to watch Alysia in London wearing a bright yellow flower in her hair which has now become her unmistakable trademark.

Ethiopian sensation Fantu Magiso should not be underrated in this event. She is currently ranked first in the Samsung Diamond League meets with 10 points ahead of Pamela Jelimo of Kenya. On the world ranking, she is ranked third behind Mariya Savinova of Russing and Pamela Jelimo of Kenya.

Magiso defeated Jelimo in Rome Samsung Diamond League meet and followed that triumph with a victory in New York with a time of 1:57.48 to catapult her name among the frontrunners for the gold medal at the London Olympic Games.

Whether Pamela Jelimo will rise to the occasion and defend her title or Mariya Savinova will decide to push her world title further and be the new Olympic champion, the finals in London Olympics 800m Women will be an awesome battle to watch.


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