Women’s 800 Preview: Americans Ajee’ Wilson And Chanelle Price Try To Make History But Brit Laura Muir Is Our Favorite
March 4, 2014
It’s officially time for American fans to get excited for the women’s 800 at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships, which begins on day 1 of the track and field action in Sopot, Poland on Friday.
Heading into the meet, the US has the top two seeds in the world in 2014 World #1 Ajee’ Wilson and Chanelle Price, who ran 2:00.43 and 2:00.48 at USAs.
Take a look at the entrants.
|800 Metres W||DOB||PR (o=outdoor)||2014 Best||Comment|
|Ajee’ WILSON||USA||5/8/1994||1:58.21 o||2:00.43||6th at Worlds last year, 2012 World Jr. champ.|
|Chanelle PRICE||USA||8/22/1990||2:00.15 o||2:00.48||In form of life. PRs at 400 (54.64i), 800 (2:00.48), 1k (2:36.63), and mile (4:43.64) so far this year.|
|Laura MUIR||GBR||5/9/1993||2:00.80 o||2:00.94||Crushed Price by .97 in 1,000. Has also run 4:05 – would be #2 seed in 1,500.|
|Angelika CICHOCKA||POL||3/15/1988||2:00.20 o||2:01.14||26-year-old won in Birmingham this year over Lupu, lost to Masná in Germany.|
|Anna SHCHAGINA||RUS||12/7/1991||2:01.07 o||2:01.29||Just won Russian Champs. Undefeated in the 800 this season. 22 years old.|
|Maryna ARZAMASAVA||BLR||12/17/1987||1:59.30 o||2:01.31||Has 2 bronze medals from 2012 and 2013 Euro Champs. Fresh off winning 6th career national title on Feb. 22nd. Undefeated this season.|
|Nataliya LUPU||UKR||11/4/1987||1:58.46 o||2:01.33||Silver medal in 800 at World indoors in 2012. Has 4 national titles but hasn’t won an 800 this year.|
|Yekaterina KUPINA||RUS||2/2/1986||1:59.21 o||2:01.46||WUG sliver medal last year. Runner-up to Shchagina at Russian Indoor Champs this season.|
|Lenka MASNÁ||CZE||4/22/1985||1:59.56 o||2:01.69||8th at Worlds last summer.|
|Aníta HINRIKSDÓTTIR||ISL||1/13/1996||2:00.49 o||2:01.81||18-year-old just won 4th national title on Feb. 1st.|
|Jenna WESTAWAY||CAN||6/19/1994||2:01.89||2:01.89||19 years old. Close 2nd to Ajee’ Wilson at Millrose.|
|Natoya GOULE||JAM||3/30/1991||1:59.93 o||2:02.22||NCAA champ both indoors and outdoors last year for LSU.|
|Roseanne GALLIGAN||IRL||12/9/1987||2:00.58 o||2:03.69|
|Olha LYAKHOVA||UKR||3/18/1992||2:00.55 o||2:04.94|
|Malika AKKAOUI||MAR||12/25/1987||1:57.64 o|
|Felismina CAVELA||ANG||8/24/1992||2:08.47 o|
The 19-year old American Wilson has a lot going for her. In addition to being the 2011 world youth and 2012 world junior champion and 2014 world leader at 2:00.43, she’s also the highest placer in field from the women’s 800 at the 2013 Moscow World Champs. The Sopot field includes two other finalists from 2013 Moscow – Ukraine’s Nataliia Lupu and Czechoslovakia’s Lenka Masná.
1 Eunice Jepkoech SUM KENYA 1:57.38 PB
2 Mariya SAVINOVA RUSSIA 1:57.80 SB
3 Brenda MARTINEZ UNITED STATES 1:57.91 PB
4 Alysia JOHNSON MONTANO UNITED STATES USA 1:57.95
5 Ekaterina POISTOGOVA RUSSIA 1:58.05 SB
6 Ajee WILSON UNITED STATES 1:58.21 PB
7 Nataliia LUPU UKRAINE UKR 1:59.79
8 Lenka MASNÁ CZECH REPUBLIC CZE 2:00.59
Of the three finalists from Moscow, we definitely like Wilson the best as Lupu hasn’t won a race all year and Masná just lost to Brit Jenny Meadows in Prague and she’s not even on the team.
Wilson’s not our favorite – because of the transitive property. We think the favorite might be another big young talent – Britain’s Laura Muir.
We say that because the 20-year old Muir crushed Chanelle Price by nearly a full second earlier this year at the Glasgow International match and Price has been running really well all year. Price challenged Mary Cain in the 1k in Boston and came up just .05 behind Wilson at USAs.
In addition to beating Price convincingly this year, Muir has also run 4:05 for 1500 so we know having to run two rounds won’t be a problem for her. That being said, a win by Price wouldn’t totally stun us. She’s already put up outright PRs at 400 (54.64i), 1k (2:36.63), and mile (4:43.64) so far this year and run an indoor pb of 2:00.48 in the 800.
This field is wide open. No one has run faster than 2:00.43 this year but 10 people have run within 1.5 seconds of that time.
There are a slew of other story lines to pay attention to. The hometown Poles have a threat in Angelika Cichocka. Iceland’s teen phenom Aníta Hinriksdóttir runs her first Worlds as a senior. 22-year old Russian Anna Shchagina is undefeated on the year at 800.
There either will be 3 or 4 preliminary heats so it’s going to be just winners and three next best times or heat winners winner and next two times to the final so the key is to make the six person final and then see what happens then. Half the people in the final medal.
Quick Thought #1: Muir was one of the biggest revelations of 2013 as she lowered her pb from 2:07.3 to 2:00.80. Yes 6.5 seconds in one year. She nearly surpassed that in her first race of 2014. A win her for the Scot and she might be the one of the leading faces at this summer’s Commonwealth Games which take place in Scotland.
Quick Thought #2: Cain’s withdrawal was disappointing for US fans but it’s good in the sense that the teen phenom Wilson has all of the spotlight on herself if she comes up with a big performance.
Quick Thought #3: Since the start of World Indoors in 1985 (the first year it was called the World Indoor Games), the US has won four medals in the women’s 800 – all of them bronze – Joetta Clark 1 (1993 and 1997), Alysia Montano (2010) and Erica Moore (2012). Will history be made here?
Quick Thought #4: Brits, can you tell us why Jenny Meadows isn’t on your team? You’ve only got one entrant in the event and Meadows just beat outdoor finalist Masná in Prague. We don’t get it: Brits help us out – why isn’t Jenny Meadows on your 2014 World Indoor team?
Quick Thought #5: We enjoyed a pre-race article on Price from the Daily Relay where Price says she is excelling because she’s less focused on running than in the past. She’s found that juggling running with a part time job and volunteering at Big Brothers/Big Sisters is a big help. We also liked this article on Muir in the Independent, who never thought she’d be a pro track athlete. “I never thought I’d be an elite athlete. So I didn’t have any idols. I think the only idol I maybe had was a vet I worked with who was absolutely brilliant for me,” said Muir.
LRC Prediction: Muir for the win. Definitely at least one US medal. We’ll say a historic silver.