All season long, until the final week in August, world champion Eunice Sum had been the dominant force among the planet’s pre-eminent female two-lap runners.
Heading into the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham, the 26-year-old Kenyan had suffered just one defeat in 14 races which was inflicted in Monaco by Ajee Wilson, the 20-year-old US runner prevailing in 1:57.67, the fastest time in the world this year.
However, by the time Sum lined up in Marrakech, she had two further defeats behind her, having lost to Lynsey Sharp in Birmingham, and finished third behind Brenda Martinez and Sharp in Brussels.
It was clear though that she was determined to finish her season on a high. Sum was back to the sum of her parts.
Asia Pacific’s Tintu Luka of India led through the bell in a brisk 57.91 before Sum hit the front with 250 metres to go, only for Wilson to pass her at the 200m mark. Sum was not to be outdone.
She surged past the former world junior champion 80 metres from the line, claiming maximum points for Africa in 1:58.21. Wilson was second in 2:00.07 with Belarus’ European champion Marina Arzamasova taking third place ahead of Africa’s Tigist Assefa and a clearly race-weary Sharp.
“It has been a season full of winning,” said Sum. “This time it is not for my country but for the whole continent. It is a big achievement for me. I didn’t panic when Ajee went past me.”
Simon Turnbull for the IAAF