BASKING IN GLORY

Moraa salutes Kenyan fans after rocketing to women's 800m title

Moraa, 22, destroyed the women's 800m field to clinch Kenya's fourth gold at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on Saturday.

In Summary

•She charged through the finish line in 1:57.07 ahead of England's Keely Hodgkinson who timed 1:57.40 for silver with Scotland's Laura Muir settling for bronze in 1:57.87.

•All smiles, Moraa ecstatically punched her fists into the air to celebrate her landmark win as the packed stands cheered her on.

Mary Moraa celebrates after clinching the women's800m title at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham
Mary Moraa celebrates after clinching the women's800m title at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham
Image: NOCK

Newly-crowned women's 800m Commonwealth champion, Mary Moraa, has hailed her fans, saying their effusive support buoyed her to the momentous feat.

Moraa, 22, destroyed the women's 800m field to clinch Kenya's fourth gold at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on Saturday night.

She charged through the finish line in 1:57.07 ahead of England's Keely Hodgkinson, who timed 1:57.40 for silver with Scotland's Laura Muir settling for bronze in 1:57.87.

“I owe a lot to the fans back home. They have given me all the support I needed to come this far,” Moraa said exuberantly in a post-race interview.

It was at the 2019 All Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco that Moraa made her global championship debut, contesting in the 4×400m in August.

A month later, she represented Kenya in the mixed 4 × 400 metres relay at the 2019 World Athletics Championships at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

After hitting the heights for a bronze at the World Athletics Championship in Oregon a week ago, Moraa trained her sights on the Commonwealth title which she clinched in a fashionable way on Saturday.

She has now pledged to unpack more surprises in future competitions.

“I wish to tell them it's only the beginning and better things are still on the way,” Moraa said.

Moraa said she was elated to have capped off her stellar career with gold in Birmingham.

“I'm happy to win my first gold medal in the senior ranks, especially coming at a time I'm still celebrating the World Championships bronze I won in Oregon," said Moraa.

“I'm glad I ran according to the instructions my coach gave me. The idea was to set the pace and see how far I can push my competitors.

“I wanted to cross the first 400m in 57 or 58 seconds but I did much better and clocked 56 seconds.”

Moraa opened and maintained a firm lead in the first 460m. But at the sound of the bell, the Kenyan dropped further away as Jamaican Natoya Goule took command with Hodgkinson hot on her heels.

The packed Alexander Stadium momentarily thought it was all over for the Kenyan as she tapered off behind the pack. But for Moraa, it was purely a tactical move meant to give her space and time to calculate her next move.

And immediately after replenishing her lungs with enough gas, Moraa hurtled to the fore dominantly wheezing past her rivals until she caught up with Hodgkinson and Goule, who were locked in a fierce neck-and-neck duel at the front.

A major showdown loomed at the home straight. Coming off the final bend, all three women kicked hard but Moraa proved to be the strongest, powering her way to the finish in a season’s best of 1:57.07.

“The race was competitive but I decided to hang on. With roughly 120m left, I knew it was the right moment to go for the kill, and luckily I managed the gold.”

All smiles, Moraa ecstatically punched her fists into the air and then gave a little dance to celebrate her landmark win as the awed stands cheered her on.

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