Mary Moraa carries Kenya's hopes with able shoulders into 800m semis in Budapest


ATHLETICS Mary Moraa carries Kenya's hopes with able shoulders into 800m semis in Budapest

Festus Chuma 08:15 - 25.08.2023

The 23-year-old steps into the competitive World Athletics Championships semifinals as the lone Kenyan contender.

Commonwealth Games 800m champion Mary Moraa radiates an undeniable air of confidence as she prepares for the upcoming semifinals at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. 

Despite a competitive field that includes renowned athletes such as Keely Hodgkinson, defending champion Athing Mu, Habitam Alemu, and Halimah Nakaayi, Moraa remains undeterred in her pursuit of victory.

Having secured the world bronze medal at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon and claiming gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Moraa is no stranger to international success.

Now, as she enters the semifinals in Budapest, she faces both challenges and opportunities. 

The absence of her compatriots Vivian Kiprotich and Naomi Korir, who failed to advance to the top three in their respective heats, has placed an unexpected burden on Moraa's shoulders.

Reflecting on the departure of her fellow Kenyan athletes, Moraa shared her emotions but added that she is determined to rise above the occasion

"It was really emotional to see them fall by the wayside, and I feel like I am carrying the weight of the country on my shoulders,” she said.

As the Kenyan record holder for the 400m and the reigning 2022 Diamond League 800m champion, Moraa stands poised to pursue the ultimate prize – the gold medal – should she successfully advance past the semifinals

"Our race was not that bad. I feel there is a need for resilience and focus," she noted, acknowledging the demanding environment.

The speeds observed in Budapest surpass those experienced in Oregon last year, adding an element of unpredictability to the upcoming semifinals. 

"All athletes have trained well and are in good shape; but I will take the race as it comes,” she affirmed.

"Obviously, the essence in Budapest is to upgrade my 2022 Worlds bronze to gold.”

The top two performers from each heat will secure their spots in the final round while the two fastest athletes who finished third in their respective heats will also earn a place in the final.