2009 World Championships in Athletics – Women's 800 metres

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Events at the
2009 World Championships
Athletics pictogram.svg
Track events
100 m   men   women
200 m men women
400 m men women
800 m men women
1500 m men women
5000 m men women
10,000 m men women
100 m hurdles women
110 m hurdles men
400 m hurdles men women
3000 m
steeplechase
men women
4×100 m relay men women
4×400 m relay men women
Road events
Marathon men women
20 km walk men women
50 km walk men
Field events
Long jump men women
Triple jump men women
High jump men women
Pole vault men women
Shot put men women
Discus throw men women
Javelin throw men women
Hammer throw men women
Combined events
Heptathlon women
Decathlon men
 

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]

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]

Medalists[edit]

Gold Silver Bronze
Caster Semenya
 South Africa
Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei
 Kenya
Jenny Meadows
 Great Britain

Records[edit]

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 standards[edit]

A time B time
2:00.00 2:01.30

Schedule[edit]

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

Results[edit]

Heats[edit]

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

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

Semi-finals[edit]

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 1:58.66 Q
2 1 Mariya Savinova  Russia 1:59.30 Q
3 1 Yuliya Krevsun  Ukraine 1:59.38 Q
4 2 Jenny Meadows  Great Britain 1:59.45 Q
5 2 Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei  Kenya 1:59.47 q
6 1 Mayte Martínez  Spain 1:59.72 q, SB
7 2 Hazel Clark  United States 1:59.96 SB
8 1 Hasna Benhassi  Morocco 2:00.06
9 2 Svetlana Klyuka  Russia 2:00.48
10 1 Jemma Simpson  Great Britain 2:00.57
11 3 Elisa Cusma Piccione  Italy 2:00.62 Q
12 2 Tetyana Petlyuk  Ukraine 2:00.90
13 3 Marilyn Okoro  Great Britain 2:01.01 Q
14 1 Geena Gall  United States 2:01.30
15 3 Anna Rostkowska  Poland 2:01.40
16 1 Zulia Calatayud  Cuba 2:01.53
17 2 Lucia Klocová  Slovakia 2:01.56
18 3 Elena Kofanova  Russia 2:02.02
19 3 Kenia Sinclair  Jamaica 2:02.31
20 3 Lenka Masná  Czech Republic 2:02.55
21 2 Marian Burnett  Guyana 2:02.75
22 3 Maggie Vessey  United States 2:03.55
23 1 Élodie Guégan  France 2:04.38
2 Halima Hachlaf  Morocco DNF
3 Pamela Jelimo  Kenya DNF

Final[edit]

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

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

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ Ramsak, Bob (2009-08-09). Women's 800m - PREVIEW. 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. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-08-17.
  5. ^ Ramsak, Bob (2009-08-17). Event Report - Women's 800m - Semi-Final. 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. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-08-17.