W 800 Semis: American Sabrina Southerland Fails to Advance to Final as Cuba’s Sahily Diago Leads Qualifiers
July 23, 2014
The field is set for the final of the women’s 800 at the 2014 World Junior Championships and for the first time since 2008, it won’t include an American. Two years ago, Ajee Wilson won the U.S.’s only gold ever in a mid-d/distance event at World Juniors in the women’s 800, but today Georgetown’s Sabrina Southerland was last in her qualifying heat and will not advance to the final.
Cuba’s Sahily Diago, whose 1:57.74 from May is #2 on the 2014 world list, led all qualifiers, winning the first heat in 2:03.60 in rainy conditions. The final will take place tomorrow night at 11:00 p.m. ET. We recap the heats below with results.
Full results *RRW Recap of this race: 800m Medal Favorites Diago, Hinriksdottir Advance at World Junior Championships
Kenya’s Margaret Wambui led through the first 200 in 28.58 and was closely followed by Australia’s Georgia Griffith, Iceland’s World Youth champ Anita Hinriksdottir and Diago. Griffith took the lead on the turn and those four would take the bell at the front of a closely-bunched pack, with Hinriksdottir leading through in 60.76.
The top four of Hinriksdottir, Wambui, Griffith and Diago would break away on the back stretch, but it was still an important race up front as only the top three qualified automatically (plus the next two fastest times). Diago and Wambui, who broke away to win their prelim yesterday, did the same thing today and both looked very comfortable in going 1-2, easing up over the final meters. Griffith had to work harder for third, but Hinriksdottir was tying up over the last 50 and in the end finished about a second behind Griffith. It wouldn’t end up mattering as she would grab one of the two time qualifiers.
|1||434||Sahily DIAGO||CUB||2:03.60 Q|
|2||991||Margaret Nyairera WAMBUI||KEN||2:03.72 Q||PB|
|3||176||Georgia GRIFFITH||AUS||2:04.00 Q||PB|
|4||822||Aníta HINRIKSDÓTTIR||ISL||2:04.99 q|
Quick Take #1: Diago is the heavy favorite for tomorrow’s final.
Diago and Wambui both looked comfortable up front, but the difference was that Wambui ran a PR while Diago was six seconds back of her fastest time (Griffith also set a PR in third). Diago has made it look easy so far and it’s hard to imagine a 1:57 girl losing against a field where no one else has even broken 2:00.
Quick Take #2: Wambui is in much better than 2:03 shape right now.
With that said, Wambui, like Diago, looked comfortable running 2:03 today and that time came in the rain after easing up at the end. The results listed that as a PR for Wambui, but it’s difficult to tell if that’s true or not because it’s incredibly difficult to find any results on Wambui outside of a 2:04.24 at the Kenyan trials. Based on how she’s looked in the rounds, she’s probably close to 2:00 shape but it’s really hard to tell.
Could she challenge Diago in the final? If anyone beats Diago, we think it’s Wambui.
Post race interview with Wambui:
This one went out very quickly as Kenya’s Maximila Imali and Zeyutina Mohammed — this year’s Ethiopian senior champ at 18 — led through a first 200 of 27.82. The pace would slow over the next 200, with Mohammed taking the bell at 61.10. Behind Mohammed was Imali, Australia’s Georgia Wassall (4th at World Youths last year), Germany’s Sarah Schmidt and the American Southerland, who was boxed in on the inside in fifth place.
As in Heat 1, the top four began to break away on the back stretch. Southerland began to fade and was passed, falling back into seventh with 200 to go. Morocco’s Sara Souhi made a move to go with the leaders and was in fourth coming off the final turn. At that point, Mohammed and Wassall had broken away and would ease to the top two auto spots, but it was going to be close between Souhi and Imali for the final auto qualifier.
Souhi drew level with Imali just as the two crossed the finish line and though the two were awarded the same time, Souhi got the final qualifier in a PR of 2:05.37. Imali, for her efforts, was rewarded with the final time qualifier. Southerland didn’t have anything in the tank over the final 200 and would finish last.
Quick Thought #1: Mohammed looked in control but given the fact her pb is just 2:01.55, we still think the Cuban is the big favorite in the final.
Here is a post-race interview with Australia’s runner-up Georgia Wassal:
More: RRW Recap of this race: 800m Medal Favorites Diago, Hinriksdottir Advance at World Junior Championships
|1||577||Zeyituna MOHAMMED||ETH||2:04.62 Q|
|2||163||Georgia WASSALL||AUS||2:04.84 Q|
|3||1043||Sara SOUHI||MAR||2:05.37 Q||PB|
|4||985||Maximila IMALI||KEN||2:05.37 q|