Ajee Wilson of the USA wins the Girls' 800m final in Lille (Getty Images) © Copyright
Barcelona 2012 - Event Report - Women's 800m
Impressive in the previous rounds, Jessica Judd also finished in a Personal Best 2:00.96 in second, the British athlete having to settle for a minor medal behind Wilson for the second time in her career now after her bronze medal performance in Lille's World Youths last year.
The pace was set from the gun by Anita Hinriksdottir of Iceland, the youngest girl in this final (born 1996!) leading the pack at 400m in a swift 58.29. At that point, Emily Dudgeon, the second British athlete in the final was holding on to second with her compatriot Judd moving from third closer to the lead.
It is with 300 metres to go that Judd, who had been the most impressive in the qualifying round running strongly at the front in both her heats and semi, decided to make her move. She gradually closed the gap onto Dudgeon and Hinriksdottir and passed the pair with 250 metres still to run.
Aware of the depth of the field, Judd kept pushing hard and increased her lead as Wilson waited until the final bend to start making a move. At that point, it was Judd and Wilson on her heels with Hinriksdottir producing ever longer strides in an attempt to remain among the top three!
With just one hundred metres to go Wilson looked stronger and stronger, the American passing Judd in what seemed an effortless change of speed. Wilson sped to the line with 50 metres to go well clear of Judd but that was without counting on the British athlete’s never ending resources.
Judd seemed to find a second life and started closing on Wilson but it appeared to be too late the American having only 5 hundredths of a second to spare at the finish.
Meanwhile the battle for the last medal at stake was to be won by Manal El Bahraoui whose turn of speed in the final straight was impressive. The 18-year-old Moroccan moving from seventh to third in the final stages of the race unsettled early leader Hinriksdottir 2:03.09 to 2:03.23.
Jessica Judd of Great Britain whose PB before final was 2:01.09 is only just 17 years of age and will be eligible for the next World Junior Championships in Eugene 2014.
Anastasiya Tkachuk the fastest in the field at 2:00.78 was never in contention the Ukraining finishing in seventh in 2:04.92.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF
- Ajee Wilson of the USA wins the Girls' 800m final in Lille (Getty Images) © Copyright