Hodgkinson heartbreak when Moraa beats her for Commonwealth Games gold  Commonwealth Games 2022

Hodgkinson heartbreak when Moraa beats her for Commonwealth Games gold Commonwealth Games 2022

So close. Yet. And poor Keely Hodgkinson must ask herself what the hell she has to do to crown her exceptional talent with a major 800m outdoor title.

At last year’s Tokyo Olympics and Eugene’s recent World Championships, the brilliant 20-year-old faced off against the extraordinary American Athing Mu, only to walk away for silver. And here at the Commonwealth Games, where she was the hot favorite, she fell victim to one of the most bizarre victories ever in a major league.

It came from Kenyan Mary Moraa, who stretched the field for the first 350m before returning to the last after 550m. But just when it looked like Moraa’s race had gone well, she started targeting the rest of the group – and then moved from fourth to first on the home straight before heading home in 1 minute 57, 07 seconds.

No wonder Hodgkinson, who had to settle for silver in 1: 57.40, was heartbroken. “I’ve never seen this before,” he admitted. “People run the race differently. I was hoping to be ahead with 200 meters to go – that’s how I beat her last time. The race is full of surprises ”.

Indeed. Statistics showed that Moraa had the fastest first 200m (25.9) and last 200m (29.3) of the entire 800m field. But she in the middle she also had the slowest central 400 meters of 61.9.

“Frustrated is definitely the right word,” Hodgkinson said. “I’m not sure what happened, it went so fast, maybe I could have been more patient with myself. But I gave everything “.

But at least Hodgkinson has another chance for European glory in a couple of weeks. She and she are determined to make it count. “I’ll stay smoldering until I’m on top of that podium,” she added.

When Moraa was asked to explain his tactics, he said he invented them on the hoof. “My plan was to go fast enough in 57 or 58 seconds, but after 300m I realized I was going too fast,” she explained. “I lost hope because everyone overtook me. I was the last. But when I got to 200m I started closing the gap. And 120 meters from the end I was counting 1-2-3-4 and I started thinking I could win a medal. And I kept pushing. “

Scotswoman Laura Muir was beaming after bringing her vest right in front to take the bronze from Natoya Goule in 1: 57.87. “My coach told me to go hard, and I thought I did, but I was still miles away,” she said.

“Oh my God, these girls are fast. I was fourth with 100 meters from the end and I was like, ‘There is no way, there is no way.’ But my coach said to run to the finish. And when he says it, you do. But I had crossed everything for the photo finish. I was dying for that line. “

The Scottish Laura Muir reacts after the finish of the women's 800m final, where she won the bronze.
The Scottish Laura Muir reacts after the finish of the women’s 800m final, where she won the bronze. Photograph: Tom Jenkins / The Observer

Muir’s bronze was confirmed despite the Jamaicans questioning the photo finish decision, which delayed the 800m award ceremony.

Meanwhile Muir is now aiming for gold in Sunday’s 1500m final. “I was determined by doing double that I wouldn’t waste by not getting a medal,” she said. “I’m so happy. But I want that gold in the 1500 meters. Let’s cross our fingers, the recovery will be quick “.

But the night’s performance came from Trinidad & Tobago’s Jereem Richards, who took gold in the 200 meters in a quick 19.80 seconds despite proudly watching the clock in the final 20 meters. It was not only a personal best, but also a Commonwealth Games record. Englishman Zharnel Hughes was also happy after winning silver in 20.12.

Elsewhere, on the penultimate day of athletics, Alastair Chalmers won a shock bronze in the men’s 400m hurdles to secure Guernsey’s first Commonwealth Games victory on the track. “I just made history for Guernsey,” said Chalmers after a race won by defending champion Kyron McMaster. “I am so proud. I love it.”

Meanwhile, an exciting final of the men’s 10,000 meters turned into a three-man sprint, which was won by Jacob Kiplimo with the best 13: 08.08 of the season, ahead of Kenyan Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli and Jacob Krop. Englishman Marc Scott finished fifth.

Earlier in the day Jake Wightman gave his all in a Commonwealth 1500m final for centuries. This time around, however, the familiar formula didn’t quite work out as Oliver Hoare fell to death to win Australia’s first mid-range gold at these Games since Herb Elliot in 1958.

“It was the best I could have done,” said Wightman, who struck for gold with just over 200 meters remaining only to be overtaken by Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot and then Hoare. “I wanted to make a statement, but I wasn’t feeling quite as good as a couple of weeks ago.”

Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah added 200 meters of gold to her title in the 100 meters with a record of 22.02 at the Games. The Nigerian Favor Ofili won the silver and the Namibian Christine Mboma the bronze.

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