2009 World Championships in Athletics – Women's 800 metres

The women's 800 metres at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics was held at the Olympic Stadium on 16, 17 and 19 August. Prior to the championships, there was no clear favourite for the race – the twenty fastest times of the season had been run by seventeen different athletes. The reigning World and Olympic champions, Janeth Jepkosgei and Pamela Jelimo, had not shown the dominance of previous seasons. The two fastest runners of the season, Caster Semenya and Maggie Vessey, had recently set personal bests but lacked any major championships experience, while third best Anna Alminova was a 1500 metres specialist. European Indoor Champion Mariya Savinova and Svetlana Klyuka, fourth at the Olympics, were other strong competitors. The 2007 World medallists Hasna Benhassi and Mayte Martínez, and Olympic finalist Yuliya Krevsun were also predicted as medal possibilities.[1][2]

Women's 800 metres
at the 2009 World Championships
VenueOlympic Stadium
Dates16 August (heats)
17 August (semifinals)
19 August (final)
Competitors43 from 32 nations
Winning time1:55.45
Medalists
gold medal 
silver medal 
bronze medal 
← 2007
2011 →

The events in the heats resulted in a surprise decision: world-leader Semenya accidentally tripped Jepkosgei and the defending champion finished last in the first heat. The Kenyan athletics federation appealed the decision and she was reinstated to run in the second semi-final, and Semenya was not disqualified as her actions were deemed unintentional.[3] Yuliya Krevsun, Elisa Cusma Piccione, and Zulia Calatayud were the fastest of the heat winners on the first day of competition.[4] With only eight places on offer, there were a number of high-profile scalps in the semi-finals. The first race saw past medallists Calatayud and Benhassi fail to qualify, Svetlana Klyuka was fifth in the second heat, while Vessey and Jelimo dropped out in the third semi-final of the day. Caster Semenya was the fastest in the preliminaries with 1:58.66.[5]

In the final, Semenya lead the race from the halfway mark, and continued to increase her lead from that point onwards, winning her first World Championship gold medal in a time of one minute and 55.45 seconds. Krevsun was in second place near the end of final straight, but she faded a little and allowed Jepkosgei and Jenny Meadows to challenge her position. With just a tenth of a second between second and fourth, Krevsun fell behind the Kenyan and British athletes, who ended up with the silver and bronze medals.[6]

Semenya's victory was one of the focal points of the championship, not just because of her achievement on the track at such a young age, but also because of the events that followed. Having beaten her previous 800 m best by four seconds at the African Junior Championships just a month earlier,[7] her quick improvements came under scrutiny. The combination of her rapid athletic progression and her appearance culminated in the IAAF asking her to take a gender test to ascertain whether she was female.[8] A number of South African governing bodies came to the defence of Semenya, saying the athlete had been treated unfairly,[9][10][11] and world record holder Michael Johnson was highly critical of the way that the sensitive issue had been dealt with publicly.[12]

MedalistsEdit

Gold Silver Bronze
Caster Semenya
  South Africa (RSA)
Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei
  Kenya (KEN)
Jenny Meadows
  Great Britain & N.I. (GBR)

RecordsEdit

World record   Jarmila Kratochvílová (TCH) 1:53.28 Munich, West Germany 26 July 1983
Championship record   Jarmila Kratochvílová (TCH) 1:54.68 Helsinki, Finland 9 August 1983
World leading   Caster Semenya (RSA) 1:55.45 Berlin, Germany 19 August 2009
African record   Pamela Jelimo (KEN) 1:54.01 Zürich, Switzerland 29 August 2008
Asian record   Liu Dong (CHN) 1:55.54 Beijing, China 9 September 1993
North American record   Ana Fidelia Quirot (CUB) 1:54.44 Barcelona, Spain 9 September 1989
South American record   Letitia Vriesde (SUR) 1:56.68 Gothenburg, Sweden 13 August 1995
European record   Jarmila Kratochvílová (TCH) 1:53.28 Munich, West Germany 26 July 1983
Oceanian record   Toni Hodgkinson (NZL) 1:58.25 Atlanta, United States 27 July 1996

Qualification standardsEdit

A time B time
2:00.00 2:01.30

ScheduleEdit

Date Time Round
16 August 2009 10:10 Heats
17 August 2009 19:30 Semi-finals
19 August 2009 21:35 Final

ResultsEdit

HeatsEdit

Qualification: First 3 in each heat(Q) and the next 6 fastest(q) advance to the semi-finals.

Rank Heat Name Nationality Time Notes
1 3 Yuliya Krevsun   Ukraine (UKR) 2:02.20 Q
2 4 Elisa Cusma Piccione   Italy (ITA) 2:02.33 Q
2 6 Zulia Calatayud   Cuba (CUB) 2:02.33 Q
4 4 Anna Rostkowska   Poland (POL) 2:02.37 Q
5 4 Halima Hachlaf   Morocco (MAR) 2:02.46 Q
6 3 Jenny Meadows   Great Britain & N.I. (GBR) 2:02.47 Q
7 4 Elena Kofanova   Russia (RUS) 2:02.49 q
8 1 Caster Semenya   South Africa (RSA) 2:02.51 Q
9 1 Geena Gall   United States (USA) 2:02.63 Q
10 3 Hazel Clark   United States (USA) 2:02.67 Q
11 6 Hasna Benhassi   Morocco (MAR) 2:02.83 Q
12 1 Tetyana Petlyuk   Ukraine (UKR) 2:02.87 Q
13 3 Lucia Klocová   Slovakia (SVK) 2:02.98 q
14 6 Marilyn Okoro   Great Britain & N.I. (GBR) 2:03.07 Q
15 2 Mariya Savinova   Russia (RUS) 2:03.27 Q
16 4 Lenka Masná   Czech Republic (CZE) 2:03.32 q
17 2 Jemma Simpson   Great Britain & N.I. (GBR) 2:03.33 Q
18 2 Mayte Martínez   Spain (ESP) 2:03.39 Q
19 6 Svetlana Klyuka   Russia (RUS) 2:03.40 q
20 5 Pamela Jelimo   Kenya (KEN) 2:03.50 Q
21 2 Élodie Guégan   France (FRA) 2:03.87 q
22 3 Marian Burnett   Guyana (GUY) 2:03.89 q
23 1 Olga Cristea   Moldova (MDA) 2:03.99
24 5 Maggie Vessey   United States (USA) 2:04.07 Q
25 2 Irina Krakoviak   Lithuania (LTU) 2:04.26
26 2 Elena Mirela Lavric   Romania (ROM) 2:04.49
27 5 Kenia Sinclair   Jamaica (JAM) 2:04.52 Q
28 1 Neisha Bernard-Thomas   Grenada (GRN) 2:04.55
29 5 Rosibel García   Colombia (COL) 2:04.73
30 5 Jana Hartmann   Germany (GER) 2:04.99
31 1 Madeleine Pape   Australia (AUS) 2:05.85
32 6 Daniela Reina   Italy (ITA) 2:06.30
33 4 Eléni Filándra   Greece (GRE) 2:06.39
34 6 Anabelle Lascar   Mauritius (MRI) 2:06.53 SB
35 5 Nataliia Lupu   Ukraine (UKR) 2:06.74
36 2 Leonor Piuza   Mozambique (MOZ) 2:08.08
37 5 Salome Dell   Papua New Guinea (PNG) 2:08.22
38 1 Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei   Kenya (KEN) 2:12.81 Q
39 3 Yeliz Kurt   Turkey (TUR) 2:13.42
40 4 Natalia Gallego   Andorra (AND) 2:18.75
41 3 Aishath Reesha   Maldives (MDV) 2:28.00 NR
42 6 Nikki Hamblin   New Zealand (NZL) 2:31.94
3 Sanaa Abubkheet   Palestine (PLE) DQ

Key: NR = National record, Q = qualification by place in heat, q = qualification by overall place, SB = Seasonal best

Semi-finalsEdit

Janeth Jepkosgei was tripped in the first round heats, and after protest by the Kenyan Federation, was added to the semi-finals; she will run in lane 7 of heat 2 along with Hazel Clark. The ruling was that the trip was accidental, by Caster Semenya, who was therefore not disqualified.[13]

Qualification: First 2 in each semifinals(Q) and the next 2 fastest(q) advance to the final.

Rank Heat Name Nationality Time Notes
1 2 Caster Semenya   South Africa (RSA) 1:58.66 Q
2 1 Mariya Savinova   Russia (RUS) 1:59.30 Q
3 1 Yuliya Krevsun   Ukraine (UKR) 1:59.38 Q
4 2 Jenny Meadows   Great Britain & N.I. (GBR) 1:59.45 Q
5 2 Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei   Kenya (KEN) 1:59.47 q
6 1 Mayte Martínez   Spain (ESP) 1:59.72 q, SB
7 2 Hazel Clark   United States (USA) 1:59.96 SB
8 1 Hasna Benhassi   Morocco (MAR) 2:00.06
9 2 Svetlana Klyuka   Russia (RUS) 2:00.48
10 1 Jemma Simpson   Great Britain & N.I. (GBR) 2:00.57
11 3 Elisa Cusma Piccione   Italy (ITA) 2:00.62 Q
12 2 Tetyana Petlyuk   Ukraine (UKR) 2:00.90
13 3 Marilyn Okoro   Great Britain & N.I. (GBR) 2:01.01 Q
14 1 Geena Gall   United States (USA) 2:01.30
15 3 Anna Rostkowska   Poland (POL) 2:01.40
16 1 Zulia Calatayud   Cuba (CUB) 2:01.53
17 2 Lucia Klocová   Slovakia (SVK) 2:01.56
18 3 Elena Kofanova   Russia (RUS) 2:02.02
19 3 Kenia Sinclair   Jamaica (JAM) 2:02.31
20 3 Lenka Masná   Czech Republic (CZE) 2:02.55
21 2 Marian Burnett   Guyana (GUY) 2:02.75
22 3 Maggie Vessey   United States (USA) 2:03.55
23 1 Élodie Guégan   France (FRA) 2:04.38
2 Halima Hachlaf   Morocco (MAR) DNF
3 Pamela Jelimo   Kenya (KEN) DNF

FinalEdit

 
Caster Semenya won her first World Championship gold medal despite a controversial build up
Rank Name Nationality Time Notes
  Caster Semenya   South Africa (RSA) 1:55.45 WL
  Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei   Kenya (KEN) 1:57.90 SB
  Jenny Meadows   Great Britain & N.I. (GBR) 1:57.93 PB
4 Yuliya Krevsun   Ukraine (UKR) 1:58.00 SB
5 Mariya Savinova   Russia (RUS) 1:58.68
6 Elisa Cusma Piccione   Italy (ITA) 1:58.81 SB
7 Mayte Martinez   Spain (ESP) 1:58.81 SB
8 Marilyn Okoro   Great Britain & N.I. (GBR) 2:00.31

Key: PB = Personal best, SB = Seasonal best, WL = World leading (in a given season)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Ramsak, Bob (2009-08-09). Women's 800m - PREVIEW Archived 2009-08-13 at the Wayback Machine. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-08-17.
  2. ^ 800 Metres 2009. IAAF (2009-08-16). Retrieved on 2009-08-17.
  3. ^ Jepkosgei wins appeal to compete after tumbling out in heats. The Standard (2009-08-16). Retrieved on 2009-08-17.
  4. ^ Ramsak, Bob (2009-08-16). Event Report - Women's 800 Metres - Heats Archived 2009-08-19 at the Wayback Machine. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-08-17.
  5. ^ Ramsak, Bob (2009-08-17). Event Report - Women's 800m - Semi-Final Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-08-18.
  6. ^ Ramsak, Bob (2009-08-19).Event Report - Women's 800m - Final. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-08-22. Archived 2009-09-08.
  7. ^ Ouma, Mark (2009-07-31). South African teen Semenya stuns with 1:56.72 800m World lead in Bambous - African junior champs, Day 2. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-08-22. Archived 2009-09-08.
  8. ^ Smith, David (2009-08-20). Caster Semenya sex row: 'She's my little girl,' says father. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2009-08-22.
  9. ^ Kessel, Anna (2009-08-19). Gold medal athlete Caster Semenya told to prove she is a woman. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2009-08-22.
  10. ^ Watson, Claire (2009-08-19). Semenya 'humiliated' by gender test. The Independent. Retrieved on 2009-08-22. Archived 2009-09-08.
  11. ^ Semenya 'almost boycotted medal'. BBC Sport (2009-08-21). Retrieved on 2009-08-22.
  12. ^ Semenya told to take gender test. BBC Sport (2009-08-19). Retrieved on 2009-08-22.
  13. ^ 800 metres semi-finals startlist Archived 2012-08-15 at the Wayback Machine. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-08-17.

External linksEdit