Budapest — Commonwealth Games Champion Mary Moraa carries an air of confidence into Friday’s semifinals at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
But the world bronze medalist reckons that being a lone ranger in the medal rush- following the exit of compatriots Vivian Kiprotich and Naomi Korir -compels her to raise the bar higher.
“Vivian and Naomi failed to make the top three in their respective heats and now I am the only Kenyan in the mix. It was a really emotional to see them fall by the wayside, and I feel like I am carrying the weight of the country on my shoulders. I will give it my best shot in the Friday semi-final to ensure that I progress to the next level,” Moraa said.
Moraa clinched the bronze medal at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon and gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The Kenyan record holder for 400 metres and the 2022 Diamond League 800m champion will be going for gold should she make it past the semis.
“Our race wasn’t that bad. I feel there is a need for resilience and focus. Conditions were too hot but it’s sheer determination all the way. Usually, it’s not easy running in such tough conditions. Speeds in Budapest are somewhat faster than it was in Oregon last year. So, it’s hard to predict the outcome of the semis.”
Asked about the Friday semis, Moraa continued: “All athletes have trained well and are in good shape; but I will take the race as it comes. I said from the word go that I will represent my county well and put it on the world map.”
Moraa took to the start line of Heat Two with the much- needed confidence and gusto.
“Obviously, the essence in Budapest is to upgrade my 2022 Worlds bronze to gold. I will fight to ensure that I qualify for the final and thereafter, I will know how to approach it. However, this is not an easy task,” added Moraa.
Enroute to reach the semis, Moraa won Heat 2 in 1:59.89 ahead of United States’ Raevyn Rogers (2:00.06) and Ethiopia’s Worknesh Mesele, who clocked 2:00.13 for third place.
The final of women’s 800m shall take place on Sunday.
-Alex Isaboke is reporting from Budapest, Hungary-