2014 End-of-Year Review – Women’s 800m

Eunice SumKenya’s Eunice Sum rose to the world-leading position in 2013 and she was also the main player in the 800m this year.

Sum won the first four IAAF Diamond League events plus the Commonwealth Games, the African Championships and the Continental Cup. She had nine races faster than 1:59.5 while nobody else managed more than four.

Behind Sum, the picture was all but clear-cut with a group of runners taking turns at beating each other. The fastest race of the year came in mid-July in Monaco where former world youth and junior champion Ajee Wilson won in a world-leading 1:57.67 just ahead of Sum. But after that, Wilson never ran faster than 2:00.

Strongest in the last part of the IAAF Diamond League season were Britain’s Lynsey Sharp, who finished first in Birmingham and second in Brussels, and USA’s Brenda Martinez, who was third in Birmingham and first in Brussels. Before those races, Sharp had won silver at both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, using a Rudisha-esque front-running tactic in the latter before being reeled in by Marina Arzamasova.

This season also saw the rise of unheralded Ugandan Winnie Nanyondo, who lowered her PB by some four seconds down to a national record of 1:58.63. But sadly, fellow young African talents Fantu Magiso of Ethiopia and Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi were missing this year.

There was another significant breakthrough, though. Cuban teenager Sahily Diago ran 1:58.14 and 1:57.74 in Havana in May. But after finishing second to Sum in Rome and beating the rest of the world’s best 800m runners, Diago picked up an injury and was unable to return to sub-two-minute form, settling for the silver medal at the World Junior Championships.

Prepared by A Lennart Julin for IAAF.org

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