Defending champion Kenya’s Eunice Sum settled for a bronze after being dethroned as women’s 800m champion at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing, China.
In her desperate dash to the finish line, Sum couldn’t match her rivals’ pace and finished third in 1:58.18.
Sum was dethroned by European women’s 800m champion Marina Arzamasova from Belarus in 1:58.03, while Pan American Games two lap race winner Canada’s Melissa Bishop finished second in 1:58.12 after clocking the fastest second lap in the race at 58.73.
Both Arzamasova and Bishop won the first ever world championships medals in the 800m for their respective countries.
The Belarussian added the world title to her European title and the world indoor championships bronze medal from 2014, while for Bishop this silver is her first success on a global stage.
Sum came to Beijing after a six-race unbeaten streak this season, but she was first beaten in her semi-final race, showing signs of vulnerability, when Bishop and the 2014 European champion out-sprinted her on the homestretch.
“My tactics didn’t work today. My final 300m was poor. I underestimated the pace of my opponents and in the end my legs couldn’t carry me through,” Sum said after the race.
The Kenyan chose to follow a similar race pattern, leading from the gun, and perhaps it proved her undoing.
The Kenyan slightly picked up the pace after the bell, but Arzamasova, Bishop and France’s Renelle Lamote stayed on her shoulder.
The race unfolded n the the last bend the Belorussian powerfully moved forward and overtook the lead.
After making her move on the outside of Sum, Arzamasova managed to cross to the inside, quickly and safely, without risking on getting herself into a collision and then sped to return the gold medal to Europe.
“I feel I haven’t fully recovered (from an illness). Then again this is the world championship, it has a lot of surprises. But I thank God for the bronze, at least I’m on the podium,” added Sum.