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Women's 800m World Champs Preview: An 'Unkown' Favorite
by: LetsRun.com
August 23, 2007
*Start lists
Prelims are at 6:30 am Eastern Saturday
Semis 6:35 am Eastern on Sunday
Final 8:20 am Eastern on  Tuesday
The only way to watch the meet live in the US is on WCSN on the internet $4.95 for a 30 day membership

Who will win the
Women's 800m?
Caster Semenya RSA98.6%
Francine Niyonsaba BDI0.7%
Ajee Wilson USA0.5%
Natoya Goule JAM0.2%

The 800 is one of our favorite events to watch as it's the hardest event to predict.

On paper, a slew of women could win the 2007 world champs. However, in our mind, the favorite is someone who was basically an unkown at the beginning of July - Ukraine's Yuliya Krevsun. The 26-year old had never broken 2:00 until July 7th of this year when she ran 1:59.60 to win her country's nationals.  

After that, she skipped the European circuit - didn't race until August and sent shockwaves throughout the track world by running a ridiculous 1:57.63 - a 2 plus second pr - to win the World University Games title. Not only was her time the fastest of the year by more than half-a-second, it also came in her third race in four days.  If she runs like that her, she should win.  Oh yeah, one more thing, 11 days before the huge 800 pr, she shattered her own 400 pr by running 52.45 (previous pr 53.10). 

The runner who had the best series of races in the European circuit this summer was Jamaica's Kenia Sinclair. In fact, Sinclair has had an all-around fine 2007. Outdoors in 2007, she has lined up 10 times and has won 7 times including wins her last 3 European 800s in July in Lausanne, Rome and Greece, including a 1:58.67 in her last win.  Her pr came last year and it was 1:57.88.

Despite the fact that Krevsun appears to be in unreal form, we're picking Sinclair for the win though for one reason - her strength. Sinclair ran a fine 4:05.56 1,500 to win the adidas meet in May. We'll take strength over speed every time (plus we don't like picking people not running Grand Prix's who are coming in with 2+ second prs). It's important to realize that when Krevsun won the University Games, she blistered the first 400 in 56.17. Good luck winning worlds wire to wire like that. Sinclair can sit on her and pick her off at the end.

The sentimental favorite will be Mozambique's Maria Mutola who will be looking to win her 4th outdoor world championsip in the 800 - 14 years after she won her first in 1993 in Stuttgart. Mutola has won 4 of her 5 800s this year and certainly is a threat.

Defending champ Zulia Calatayud of Cuba can't be totally discounted. However, in 2005, she raced heavily and world's was her 10th race. This year, she has only run two races that we can find record of- both at Pan Ams where she ran 2:00.34 for third on July 24th. We're not sure why she would open so late but clearly her form is probably a lot better now than it was a month ago. Still something must have prevented her from racing more so we don't think she'll successfully defend.

Kenyan Janeth Jepkosgei ran the world leader last year (1:56.66) but has only run 1:59.14 this year. 2006 European champ, Olga Kotlyarova, wasn't running great in June and July as she only finished 4th, 3rd and 7th in her three 800s then. However, in early August, she ran great back to back races to win the Russian champs - 1:58.77 in the prelims and then this year's 2nd fastest time in the finals (1:58.14).

LetsRun.com Predictions: 1) Sinclair 2) Krevsun 3) Kotlyarova
JK Says: "I think Mutola is goig to win. They have to run rounds".


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