Hodgkinson heartbroken as Moraa beats her to win Commonwealth Games gold | Commonwealth Games 2022

So close. Still. And poor Keely Hodgkinson must be wondering what she needs to do to crown her exceptional talent with a major title in the 800m outdoors.

At the Tokyo Olympics last year and the recent world championships in Eugene, the brilliant 20-year-old faced American extraordinaire Athing Mu, to walk away with silver. And here at the Commonwealth Games, where she was the heavy favorite, she suffered one of the strangest victories ever at a major championship.

It came on from Kenya’s Mary Moraa, who strode onto the pitch for the first 350 yards before suddenly dropping back down after 550 yards. But just when it looked like Moraa’s race was over, she started to clear the rest of the field – then went from fourth to first on the straight before heading home in a 1:57, 07 sec.

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

In effect. Stats showed that Moraa had the fastest first 200m (25.9) and fastest last 200m (29.3) of the entire 800m field. But between the two, she also had the slowest average 400m of 61.9.

“Frustrated is definitely the right word,” Hodgkinson said. “I don’t know what happened, it went so fast, maybe I could have been more patient with myself. But I gave it my all.”

But at least Hodgkinson has another shot at European Championship glory in a few weeks. And she’s determined to make it count. “I will stay furious until I am at the top of this podium,” she added.

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

Scotland’s Laura Muir was beaming after getting her vest just ahead to take bronze from Natoya Goule in 1:57.87. “My coach told me to come out strong, and I thought I did, but I was still miles away,” she said.

“Oh my God, those girls are fast. I was fourth with 100m to go and I was like, “No way, no way”. But my coach told me to run to the line. And when he says that, you do that. But I had crossed everything for the photo finish. I was dying for this line.

Laura Muir of Scotland reacts after finishing in the women’s 800m final, where she won bronze. Photography: Tom Jenkins/The Observer

Muir’s bronze was confirmed as the Jamaicans questioned the photo-finish decision, which delayed the 800m medal ceremony.

Meanwhile, Muir is now aiming for gold in Sunday’s 1500m final. “I was determined, going double, that I wasn’t going to waste any time not getting a medal,” she said. “I’m so happy. But I want that gold medal in the 1500m. Fingers crossed the recovery will be quick.

But the performance of the night came from Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago, who won the 200m gold medal in 19.80 seconds despite staring proudly at the clock over the final 20 metres. It was not just a personal best, but a Commonwealth Games record. England’s Zharnel Hughes was also delighted after taking 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 Guernsey history,” Chalmers said after a race won by defending champion Kyron McMaster. “I’m so proud. Loving.”

Meanwhile, a thrilling men’s 10,000m final turned into a three-way sprint, which was won by Jacob Kiplimo with a season-best time of 13:08.08, ahead of Kenyans Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli and Jacob Krop . Englishman Marc Scott came fifth.

Earlier today Jake Wightman gave it his all in a Commonwealth 1500m final for the ages. This time, however, the familiar formula didn’t quite work as Oliver Hoare raced to the death to win Australia’s first middle distance gold at these Games since Herb Elliot in 1958.

“It was as good as I could have done,” said Wightman, who took gold with just over 200m remaining to be passed by Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot and then Hoare. “I wanted to make a statement, but I didn’t feel as good as I did a few weeks ago.”

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah added 200m gold to her 100m title with a Games record 22.02. Nigeria’s Favor Ofili won silver and Namibia’s Christine Mboma bronze.

theguardian Gt

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