Lille, FranceWith five of the six fastest girls in the world this year lining up in the final here in Lille, one could expect the Girls’ 800m final to be a spectacular race and so it was.
It was China’s Chunya Wang who took the lead as the athletes broke up from their lanes after the opening bend with US youth champion Ajee Wilson and Jessica Judd of Great Britain on her heels. Wang took a leading group of 6 athletes through 200m in 27.96, Manal El Bahraoui of Morocco and Alem Gereziher unable to follow the killer pace injected by the Chinese.
Coming into the home straight in this first lap, Wang was neck and neck with Judd as World youth leader Amy Weissenbach was solidly in third.
The bell rang with 59.62 on the clock as the 8-field pack regrouped and that is when Judd decided to make her move. She stepped on the outside to move to the front but Wang responded stride for stride maintaining the inside lane. There was a bit of light between the 2 leaders and Weissenbach still in third with Wilson another step back.
As the athletes entered the back straight, Judd made another move at the front, still not a decisive one as Wang kept on responding with the US duo also still in contention. It was time for yet another move from Judd just before the final bend and this time Wang’s legs failed. She quickly moved down to fourth as Weissenbach in second and Wilson in third overtook her to remain in touch with Judd.
The 600 metres mark was reached in 1:30.90 with now Wilson deciding to attack. The US youth champion visibly possessed the strongest change of speed and entered the home straight leading the race for the first time. She sped to the line unchallenged to set a new personal best time 2:02.64 to clinch gold.
Weissenbach and Judd were battling it out for silver and just as one expected them to share the remaining steps on the podium, Wang found another life and gradually moved back into the limelight from fourth.
She eventually dipped to the line to clinch silver in 2:03.23, her third personal best in three races after she entered the championships with a time of 2:07.13!
Judd and Weissenbach were visibly shocked and out of steam; the British champion saving just enough strength to go through the line in 2:03.43 with Weissenbach stuttering over her last three steps and literally falling through the line in fourth in 2:03.59.
Gereziher eventually clocked a personal best 2:04.59 in fifth with El Bahraoui sixth the Moroccan also improving her fastest time to 2:04.80.
“I felt very good and I am happy,” said Wilson. “The best feeling of my life. My plan was simple, in the last lap I wanted to keep the leader position and run fast. I gave all my best. The most important thing was to be relaxed and just focus on my race.”
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF