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Canadian Melissa Bishop was hoping to improve, at the least, one place from Rio to London 2017. In the end, she gave up one spot from Rio to finish fifth in the women’s 800m final at the 2017 IAAF World Championships.

South Africa’s Caster Semenya ran 1:55.16, the fastest time in the world in 2017, to win her third IAAF World Championships title after a quick 57.98 opening lap. Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba finished second with Ajee Wilson in third. Kenya’s Margaret Wambui was fourth followed by Bishop in 1:57.68, 0.67 seconds off her lifetime best.

Semenya closed the final 200m in an estimated 27.8 seconds, a blistering finish as no one could match her final kick.

Bishop cruised through both the heats and semifinals of the women’s 800m, placing second in each of the first two rounds. The 29-year-old from Eganville, Ont. was looking to erase the Rio fourth-place memories after finishing 0.13 seconds off the Games podium last summer.

For Semenya, she adds a gold to her bronze medal from the London 2017 1,500m, her first global senior championships contesting the metric mile. She won gold in the 800m in Rio as well as the 2009 IAAF World Championships. She did not contest the 2015 IAAF World Championships, the year Bishop won silver in the women’s 800m.

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As Bishop was the last Canadian to compete at the 2017 IAAF World Championships, her medal-miss means that Canada was shutout in the hardware standings. Bishop’s fifth-place result matches Damian Warner’s fifth-place result in the decathlon, which stands as the top finish among all Canadian athletes in London.


Post-race interview (click for more)

RELATED: Canadian Running‘s coverage of London 2017.

The Canadian record holder, which stands at 1:57.01, would have put Bishop in fourth as Wilson’s bronze-medal winning time was 1:56.65. All three podium finishers are their respective country’s record holders. The entire women’s field went sub-1:59, a testament to the depth in the two-lap event.

Wilson was stripped of her American indoor 800m record earlier in 2017 after testing positive for banned substance zeranol. As FloTrack reported, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) ruled that contaminated beef triggered the positive result meaning Wilson was not suspended for the infraction.

Watching from his home in southern Ontario was Bishop’s coach Dennis Fairall, who is in a battle with progressive supranuclear palsy. Bishop remains one of the few athletes that Fairall continues to coach, which he has done ever since Bishop attended the University of Windsor.


1 4209 Caster SEMENYARSA 1:55.16 WL
2 3660 Francine NIYONSABABDI 1:55.92  
3 4380 Ajee WILSONUSA 1:56.65  
4 4090 Margaret Nyairera WAMBUIKEN 1:57.54  
5 3719 Melissa BISHOPCAN 1:57.68  
6 4166 Angelika CICHOCKAPOL 1:58.41 PB
7 4350 Charlene LIPSEYUSA 1:58.73  
8 3911 Lynsey SHARPGBR 1:58.98

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  • Ottawa says:

    Congrats to Melissa. However, no surprise with the 5th place. If everything went normally, that is what you would have expected. Mel is the 5th fastest women in the 800 m this year. Mel needed to get in the front group right away to push her time. She could never get there from the start and was destined to finish in the middle and have her normal amazing race.

    Like she said she needs to get into the 1:56 range. But that may not be good enough; she will need 1:55 range to podium now. Lots of hard work ahead if she wants that. Maybe some high altitude training? Good luck.

  • Glenn Bogue says:

    Most athletes are unaware of how to nourish the cells to the max before putting on their training shoes. After Rio, I met Mel in Eganville and suggested an increase in strength via proper mineralization, plus strength training, and cutting down endurance work. Recall Bannister was 4th at the Olympics, then reduced his mileage at Med school the following year when he broke 4 min.

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