Mary Moraa opts out of Florence, Paris Diamond League meets

Mary Moraa

Commonwealth Games 800m champion Mary Moraa trains at the Nyayo National Stadium on May 23, 2023.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Sang said his Moraa will race in 800m and 400m at the  police meet ahead of her debut in the Lausanne leg of the Diamond League on July 25.

Commonwealth Games 800 metres champion Mary Moraa has made a tactical retreat and will not compete in the Florence and Paris legs of the Diamond League.

Moraa, who was scheduled to compete in 400m in Florence on Friday followed by 800m in Paris on June 9, now shifts focus to the Kenya Police Service Athletics Championships scheduled for June 7-9 in Nairobi.

“Running two World Athletics Continent Gold Tour races and one Diamond League race, winning all of them is enough at the moment for her outdoor outing,” said Moraa’s coach Alex Sang.

Moraa, the world 800m bronze medallist, broke her own national 400m record at the Botswana Golden Grand Prix in 50.44 on April 29 at the National Stadium, Gaborone.

Moraa returned home to capture the 800m title at the Kip Keino Classic in season’s best one minute and 58.83 seconds on May 13 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani before she successfully defended her title at Rabat Diamond League in another season’s best time of 1:58.72 on Sunday.

Sang said his Moraa will race in 800m and 400m at the  police meet ahead of her debut in the Lausanne leg of the Diamond League on July 25.

“It’s our plan to run sub 1:56 in Monaco, God willing,” said Sang.

“There is a lot we need to work on in training, especially the last 200m where we need to get the killer speed,” said Sang, who is confident that his athlete can run under one minute and 56 seconds this year.

The 22-year-old Moraa has a personal best of 1:56.71 from last year’s world championships bronze medal performance.

Besides targeting the world crown this year,  Moraa, the 2022 Diamond League Trophy winner,  is also exploring the possibilities of breaking the national 800m record.

The 2008 Olympic 800m champion Pamela Jelimo holds the national record time of 1:54.01 set in Zürich on August 29, 2008.

“I am in talks with my coach who is really pushing me, which is good since you must dream about these things when you are in good form and healthy,” said Moraa.

Olympic and world 800m champion Athing Mu from the United States of America, who is perhaps one of Moraa’s main challenger this season, is yet to compete since winning the world title on home soil in July in Oregon.

Another person of interest is the World 800m bronze medallist Keely Hodgkinson from Great Britain, who  is yet to compete outdoors this year in 800m.

A fortnight after their world championships exploits, Moraa beat Hodgkinson for the Commonwealth Games title in Birmingham, Great Britain.

Mu has hinted at scaling to 1,500m but it’s left to be known if she will actualise the move ahead of the World Athletics Championships scheduled for August 19 to 27 this year in Budapest, Hungary.

At the same time, Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion Beatrice Chebet will skip the Paris leg of the Diamond League due for June 9, opting to compete at the Kenya Police Service Athletics Championships.

However, Chebet, the world 5,000m silver medallist, will headline the women's 3,000m battle in Oslo on June 15. “I will compete in the 1,500m at the police event in search of speed,” said the reigning World Cross Country champion.