May 9, 2014
The Doha Diamond League opener for women at 800 was a battle of world champions.
Outdoor world champion Eunice Sum of Kenya and indoor world champion Chanelle Price were the class of this field the final 200m. Sum was too good the final 100m as she got the win in 1:59.33 as Price crossed the line in 1:59.75, to join the sub-2:00 club.
The rabbit Agatha Jeruto of Kenya took this one out in 58.23 and the field lagged behind her, just under 60 seconds unofficially at the quarter.
The modest pace meant everyone was tightly bunched down the backstretch with Eunice Sum in first and Chanelle Price in second.
With 200m to go (1:29.70), Sum and Price began to pull away from the field. They were clearly best the final 200m. The final 100m there was no doubt Sum was better than Price as Sum got the win in 1:59.33. Price ran all the way through the line and leaned, and she got under 2:00.00 for the first time with a quarter second to spare.
Lenka Masna of the Czech Republic moved up the last 100m to get third. Former world champ Janeth Jepkosgei got fourth, and American Molly Beckwith had a good race in fifth in 2:00.55.
Quick Take #1: Welcome to the Sub 2:00.00 Club Chanelle
Chanelle Price was already the world indoor champion, but believe it or not she had never broken 2:00. She took care of that today. She told LRC via email after the race that her goal this year is “to consistently run under 2. After running 2 flat indoor, I knew I would break 2 this season, I just didn’t know it would be this early! I’m excited!”
Quick Take #2: This Wasn’t the Easiest Race to Go Sub 2:00 In
Price likes to run from the front and said the goal was to go with the rabbit, but she changed tactics because she did not feel great at the beginning. She wrote, “But when I got off the line, my legs felt a little flat. So I changed my game plan and decided to just compete. I had great positioning the whole time. The pace was pretty slow, but going 59/60 definitely shows that there’s a lot more in the tank.”
The slow first lap made breaking 2:00 a difficult proposition in this one but Sum and Price both did it.
Up next for Chanelle is the World 4×800 Relays in the Bahamas where she said Geena Gall and Ajee Wilson will be on her team.
Our full email interview with Chanelle is here. And forget about email, we liked this meet so much and the crowd, next year, we’re vowing to go to it in person next year.
Quick Take #3: Eunice Sum Won’t Surprise Anyone This Year
Eunice Sum was a surprise winner at Worlds last year, but she won’t be surprising anyone this year. She stayed undefeated on the year, after some winter races in Australia and Kenya. This was her first big test and she passed.
Quick Take #4: Nice Step for Molly Beckwith
The American Beckwith has been sub 2:00 six times in her life. However, she missed all of 2013 and only ran 2:02.82 for 5th in the American Track League meet in Indiana in her last race.
Yet here she was on the sport’s grandest stage running 2:00.55 for 5th. A very big step in the right direction. Hopefully, she can keep it going.
More Chanelle Doha Interview with Chanelle Price after She Joins Sub 2:00 800m Club in Doha
Unfortunately, our partner Universal Sports does not have highlights of the 800m race up yet on their youtube page, but US visitors can watch the entire meet on demand for free if you’ve never done it before. If you are adventurous, you can watch this video of the race in a foreign language.