Women’s 800: Lynsey Sharp Earn First Diamond League Victory of Her Career as Ajee Wilson Struggles
August 24, 2014
Britain’s 24-year old Lynsey Sharp, who got silver at both Commonwealths and Europeans in her last two competitions, finally got the win today. Quite a win it was as Sharp earned the biggest victory of her pro career at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix in 1:59.14 as she beat the top two women in the world in 2014 in the process. Reigning world champ Eunice Sum was second in 1:59.42. The fastest woman in the world in 2014, American Ajee Wilson, was a non-factor and only sixth in 2:01.70 as her four-race win streak came to an end.
Wilson hadn’t lost an 800 since before the US Champs. Wilson last lost in Bislett on June 11th and since then she’d won in Sacramento, Glasgow, Monaco and Michigan.
The top American in today’s race was 2013 world’s bronze medallist Brenda Martinez who was third in 1:59.56.
The field wasn’t interested in going with 40-year old rabbit Diane Cummins who hit 400 in 57.63 with the field more than a second back. Sum was the top racer behind the rabbit with Sharp right next to her as Wilson and Martinez were fifth and sixth (counting the rabbit) at the bell. On the backstretch, Martinez made a big move up to the lead as she and Sum were side by side at 600 (1:29.35).
Coming off the turn, it was clearly a three person race between Martinez, Sum and Sharp but there was no doubt who was the best over the final 30 meters as Sharp got the win.
“(I got) some really good scalps in that race,” said a happy Sharp after the race to the BBC. “To be honest, I felt pretty tired this morning and in warmup. It’s been a long hard month but I just executed exactly as my coach told me to do, I just knew I to kick with 120 to go and I knew I had another kick when Brenda came up.”
When asked about now being a consistent sub-2 performer and beating and top-notch international field, Sharp said the following. “I keep saying it’s a miracle. These are the girls I watched last year when I was out injured and looked up to them. It’s just so great to be aback competing against them and actually be in the mix again.”
Race video for USA visitors:
1 Sharp , Lynsey GBR 1:59.14 4
2 Sum , Eunice Jepkoech KEN 1:59.42 2
3 Martinez , Brenda USA 1:59.56 1
4 Muir , Laura GBR 2:00.67
5 Busienei , Janeth Jepkosgei KEN 2:00.67
6 Wilson , Ajee USA 2:01.70
7 England , Hannah GBR 2:01.96
8 Smit , Angela NZL 2:02.22
Cichocka , Angelika POL DNF
Cummins , Diane CAN DNF800
400mCUMMINS, Diane (CAN)57.63
600mMARTINEZ, Brenda (USA)1:29.35
Quick Thought #1: A big win for Sharp who has had a great July and August.
Up until July 3rd, she’d never gone sub-2 in her life. Once she got that out of the way, she’s been on a roll. In August, she’s picked up two silver medals and a sub-1:59 clocking (1:58.8 at Euros) and now a DL victory.
Quick Thought #2: Wilson didn’t look good today.
Many times this summer Ajee has had the best final 100 of anyone in the race, but today she went backwards. It will be interesting to see if today’s disappointment was just the result her not racing in Europe in more than a month (July 18th was her last European race) or a sign that she’s a bit past her peak. 800 runners need to stay sharp and there haven’t been any meets for Wilson to race while the rest of the world has been doing Euros and CGs.
Quick Thought #3: This was the Brenda Martinez of old.
Martinez didn’t look good in the 800 at USA (only 5th) but was much better in this one.
Discuss this race in our fan forum: BMart is Back – 1:59.56 – Lynsey Sharp takes down Wilson & Sum in 1:59.16.
More race photos below. Click on image for larger one.