Women’s 800 First Round: The Three Americans Move on As Montaño and Martinez Win Their Heats

Things Largely Go According To Form But Jessica Judd Goes Home

by LetsRun.com
August 15, 2013

Moscow, Russia – After a night off, the 2013 IAAF World Championships resumed Thursday morning. The first event on the track was the opening round of the 800 which produced only one significant elimination as the field was narrowed down from 31 to 16.

Kazakhstan’s 2013 World University Games champ, Margarita Mukasheva, who came in undefeated on the year and as one of just six women in the field to have run under 1:59 this year with a 1:58.96 seasonal best, didn’t move on after running 2:02.06 in the fourth heat.

The morning action was good for the American women as US medal hopes Alysia Montaño and Brenda Martinez won their heats and 2012 World junior champ Ajee Wilson moved on as an automatic qualifier with the second fastest time of her career – a 2:00.00.

Quick Take (QT) #1: The biggest development in the women’s 800 came yesterday when it was revealed that 2007 champ Janeth Jepkosgei wasn’t on the start lists as she is injured. In our pre-race preview, we said we didn’t really expect Jepkosgei to contend but she did have a 1:58.71 seasonal best.

QT #2: The surprises were few and far between this morning as shown by the following stats.

The 5 Fastest People Eliminated (Based on 2013 Seasonal Bests)
1. Melissa Bishop – CAN – 1:59.76
2. Mirela Lavric – ROU – 1:59.79
3. Eglė Balčiūnaitė – LTU – 1:59.82
4. Jessica Judd – GBR – 1:59.85
5. Natoya Goule – JAM – 1:59.93

The People With The 3 Slowest Seasonal Bests Coming In That Advanced
1. Laura Muir – GBR – 2:00.86 – (2:00.80 today).
2. Marina Arzamasova – BLR – 2:00.32 (1:59.60 today)
3. Lenka Masná – CZE – 2:00.78 (2:00.31 today)

The women’s 800 start lists featured 17 people who have gone under 2:00 this year, 12 advanced.

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Heat by Heat results, quick takes from each heat and post-race interviews appear below.

Heat 1: Brenda Martinez gets heat win

2 Marilyn OKORO GREAT BRITAIN & N.I. GBR 1:59.43 Q SB
3 Mariya SAVINOVA RUSSIA RUS 1:59.44 Q
4 Winny CHEBET KENYA KEN 1:59.58 q SB
6 Marta MILANI ITALY ITA 2:02.41
SPLITS Karine BELLEAU-BÉLIVEAU 28.03, 57.05, 1:27.86.
Brenda Martinez Looked Good Advancing (Click For Photo Gallery) Brenda Martinez Looked Good Advancing (Click For Photo Gallery)

Heat 1 included American Brenda Martinez as well as 2011 and 2012 champ Mariya Savinova of Russia. This heat ended up being the most interesting of the day as Canada’s 29-year old Karine Belleau-Béliveau, who came in with just a 2:01.13 pb (2nd slowest in the heat), took things out hard (28.03, 57.05) on the first lap. Belarus’s Marina Arzamasova went with her but everyone else stayed off of the hot early pace. Thus at the bell Martinez was running in a chase pack with the defending champion Savinova, roughly two seconds behind Arzamasova and Belleau-Béliveau, with only the first three guaranteed to go through.

There was no reason to worry though as after Belleau-Béliveau went through 600 in 1:27.86 (Martinez was roughly 1.5 seconds behind still), she soon started to falter and would fade to a 2:02.93 seventh-place finish.

The leaders were caught just before the 700 meter mark. Belleau-Béliveau had no response but Arzamasova did and this heat featured a very tight finish between the top five runners. The top three were almost running side by side with Arzamasova and Kenya’s Winny Chebet side by side just behind them. Chebet had nowhere to go with three women in front of her and had to hope her 1:59.58 seasonal best would advance her as one of the four-time qualifiers and it did.

QT#1: After the race, Martinez said she wasn’t worried early on in this one.

“I think people got excited. I just had to be patient and not get excited about that hard start. I was just trying to be patient,” said Martinez. “No (I wasn’t worried on the first lap). I mean it was so early in the race. When girls tend get out that hard, they can’t really hold it. I just knew I had to run my own race and I wanted to race to win so I’m glad I walked away with that.”

When asked what she is focusing on at Worlds, Martinez said she is trying to “not over think things” and said that her coach Joe Vigil has “put her at ease” with some emails and phone calls. “I’m just believing in the training and knowing I can kick down with anyone,” said Martinez.

QT #2:  Savinova, the reigning World and Olympic champion, came into Worlds not having run as fast this year (1:58.75) as in years past (1:57.42 prior to last year’s Olympics for example) causing some to have a few doubts about her.

The doubters may still be doubting her as she didn’t win this heat whereas last year she won both her first round and semifinal heat.

QT #3: Many casual fans might see a Kenyan only moving on as a time qualifier and wonder what went wrong. But nothing went wrong for Winny Chebet. This was only the 3rd time in her career she’s broken 2:00.

QT #4: Belleau-Béliveau is an interesting story. Trackfocus.com’s Jim McDannald told us she is 29 and just started competing at age 24. We caught up with her briefly after the race. You can listen to our audio interview with her if you like but she said she knew she had the second slowest time in the heat and thus was “happy” that she went for it and led the race early. “It’s good for my first world championship. I’m happy,” said  Belleau-Béliveau in English (her native tongue is French as she’s from Montreal).

Heat 2: Montaño wire to wire

2 Nataliia LUPU UKRAINE UKR 1:59.59 Q SB
3 Halima HACHLAF MOROCCO MAR 2:00.04 Q
4 Angela SMIT NEW ZEALAND NZL 2:00.60
5 Jessica JUDD GREAT BRITAIN & N.I. GBR 2:01.48
6 Chunyu WANG PR OF CHINA CHN 2:02.05 SB
7 Roseanne GALLIGAN IRELAND IRL 2:02.05
SPLITS Alysia JOHNSON MONTANO 27.41, 57.02, 1:28.63.

Alysia Montaño did her normal front-running thing and went wire to wire in this one in a heat where 2012 world junior silver medallist Jessica Judd did not advance.

QT #1: Montaño didn’t have much to say after the race. “I’ve got to recover and get ready for the next round,” said Montaño before leaving the mixed zone. Montaño added that she “felt good” but the focus is on the final in three days.

QT #2: The 18-year old Judd said she was disappointed to not move on as she was hoping to make the final. She thought she was perfectly positioned in the race but just didn’t have what she needed in the final 100.

While disappointed, she thought she’s had a really good year. Next year, she said her #1 priority will probably be the Commonwealth Games. Since she’ll still be a junior – trying to win a World Junior gold is also a big priority as well.

Judd showed her age as she admitted to being a bit intimidated when she saw who was in her heat. She the third and fourth heats might have been a little easier on paper, but this is the World Championships and the heats are supposed to be evenly matched. No point in worrying about what is out of your control.

Wire to Wire for Alysia Johnson (Click for Gallery)

Heat 3: Ajee Wilson advances with a 2:00.00

World junior champ Ajee Wilson looked like she belonged the last 100m as she advanced.

1 Malika AKKAOUI MOROCCO MAR 1:59.63 Q
2 Ekaterina POISTOGOVA RUSSIA RUS 1:59.90 Q
4 Rose Mary ALMANZA CUBA CUB 2:00.27 q
6 Natoya GOULE JAMAICA JAM 2:00.93
SPLITS 27.88, 57.02 (Masna), 1:28.31.

In this heat, 2013 world #2 Malika Akkaoui of Morocco got the heat win over 2012 bronze medallist Ekaterina Poistogova of Russia. Wilson moved up nicely from fourth at 600 to grab the final auto qualifying spot.

QT #1: After the race, we took part in two separate interviews with Wilson which we’ve combined into one on the right (the first part is audio only as you can’t record video in the first part of the mixed zone). Second half is video.

“(I’m) relieved, The first round is always the toughest, for me at least – the nerves” said Wilson. Wilson added that she always runs better in each round and therefore she’s “excited and ready” for the next round.

QT #2: 2013 NCAA indoor and outdoor champ Natoya Goule didn’t advance in this heat. Our interview with her is on the right. Goule didn’t want to say on camera if she’d be returning to LSU next year, given the fact that her coach Mark Elliott has recently moved on to become the director Clemson, but said everyone would find out her plans soon.

To us, that’s likely a sign she’s not going to return to LSU because if you were, you’d just say that.

Ajee Wilson Moving Into the top 3

Heat 4: Fantu Magiso Bows Out

Details 1 571 Eunice Jepkoech SUM KENKEN 2:00.49 Q
Details 2 734 Elena KOTULSKAYA RUSRUS 2:00.50 Q
Details 3 394 Laura MUIR GBRGBR 2:00.80 Q PB
Details 4 340 Fantu MAGISO ETHETH 2:01.11
Details 5 116 Kelly HETHERINGTON AUSAUS 2:01.57
Details 6 199 Melissa BISHOP CANCAN 2:01.91
Details 7 549 Margarita MUKASHEVA KAZKAZ 2:02.06
Details 8 689 Elena Mirela LAVRIC ROUROU 2:10.37

Splits 400M 58.96 Eunice Jepkoech SUM KENYA KEN

Eunice Sum In the Lead in Final Straight

In the final heat, Kenya champ Eunice Sum got the heat win as Ethiopians national record holder Fantu Magiso was eliminated.

QT #1: Magiso’s elimination wasn’t a surprise as she never got it going this year. After running 1:57.48 last year, her seasonal best is just 2:00.25 this year.

QT #2: Britain’s 20-year old Laura Muir, the European U-23 bronze medallist this year, moved on thanks to her 2:00.80 personal best (previous pb of 2:00.86).

Muir won two honors with her showing today. She was the only person in the field who set a personal best to advance. She also is the person with the slowest seasonal best to move on.

The People With The 3 Slowest Seasonal Bests Coming In That Advanced
1. Laura Muir 2:00.86 (2:00.80 today).
2. Marina Arzamasova 2:00.32 (1:59.60 today)
3. Lenka Masná 2:00.78 (2:00.31 today)

*Women’s 800m Round 1 Photo Gallery Here

World Championships 2013

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