The final day of action at the IAAF World Championships features a must-watch rematch of the Olympic women’s 800m.
In what will likely be one of the races to remember of London 2017, the women’s 800m final goes off at 3:10 p.m. EDT with Melissa Bishop, the Canadian record holder, looking to erase the memories of her fourth-place finish in Rio. Again, she will go up against a trio of athletes who defeated her at the Summer Olympics in Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui. (See video of the Rio 800m here in case you missed it.) Plus, American Ajee Wilson is in top form having run 1:55.61 in 2017 as four finalists have faster lifetime bests than Bishop.
In Rio, Bishop missed the podium by 0.13 seconds in the best-run race of her life. “As I look back on it, I see the power of the performance and how fast I actually ran. But in the moment, it was just extreme disappointment because I was so close to a medal,” the 29-year-old told the Toronto Star.
Bishop has looked like the seasoned professional she is through the first two rounds of the 800m. She finished second in the heats, and second again in the semifinals, earning automatic qualifying spots through to the following round on both occasions. “It’s everything,” the Eganville, Ont. native told CBC Sports about advancing to the world final. “It’s redemption, it’s showing the world I can still be on top.”
The heavy favourite in the event is Semenya, the South African record holder who has run 1:55.27 this year. She won a bronze medal in the women’s 1,500m at this year’s IAAF World Championships, the first time she has contested the distance at the senior global outdoor level. The three rounds of 1,500m races, plus the two 800m qualifying rounds to the final, could mean she is running on tired legs. Throughout the championships, she has been questioned about elevated levels of testosterone, a condition known as hyperandrogenism. She did not compete at the 2015 IAAF World Championships, a year Bishop won a silver medal, and has stormed back onto the scene in the two proceeding years. There are suspicions, for the same reasons, in regards to the two other Rio medallists, Niyonsaba and Wambui.
In July, Bishop ran 1:57.01 in Monaco, lowering her Canadian record by 0.01 seconds from her time in the Rio Olympic final. This year’s championship is particularly special for Bishop as she hopes to bring home a medal for her ailing coach, Dennis Fairall, one of the most decorated coaches in Canadian athletics. He is battling progressive supranuclear palsy and, for the first time, will not be present for Bishop’s final in London.
“To bring home a medal to Dennis, his own medal, I’m sure his wife Janet would love that one to go on the wall,” Bishop told CBC Sports. A medal for Canada would be huge as the team has been shutout in terms of hardware so far these championships. Canada won eight medals, Bishop’s silver included, at the 2015 IAAF World Championships. Andre De Grasse‘s injury absence didn’t help in terms of Canada’s medal haul during this year’s London championships.
|9||4090||Margaret Nyairera WAMBUI||KEN||1:57.03||1:56.89|