Gibo Zachary @PeopleSports11
Mary Moraa, popularly known as “Kisii Express,” is still coming to terms with her exploits in the just-concluded IAFF World U18 Championships where she won a silver medal in the girls’ 400m against all odds.
The 17-year-old beat stiff competition from Jamaicans, Brazilian and South African athletes —revered in short races—to finish second behind Barbora Malíková of the Czech Republic in the final on Friday July 14. “There is no secret in 400m.
It is hard but you need to fight. If you remember, I was seventh at the curve but I had to fight and I managed to beat five athletes and finish second,” says a delighted Moraa, adding: “Honestly, it will take years before I can fully comprehend everything that has happened. I am still celebrating.”
Moraa got belief that she could win a medal just after qualifying for the finals, having posted good times in the heats and the semi-finals. She clocked a Personal Best time of 54.07 seconds in the heats on Wednesday July 12 to qualify for the semis as the fastest before timing 53.88 to qualify for the finals which motivated her.
And when her moment on the big stage arrived, a confident Moraa arrived on the Kasarani Stadium track, showing a throat-slitting sign to the thousands of spectators and perhaps to her rivals while gesturing the two-finger salute which might have signaled the position she targeted.
“On the first day when I beat Jamaicans, Brazilians and South Africans in our heat, it gave me an overwhelming desire. I knew that I was capable of winning a medal and at the end, God helped me win silver,” she added.
The silver medal was just the crowing moment for an athlete who nearly missed the championships having recovered from an injury just days to the U-18 event.
Moraa had suffered a knee injury during the Nations Secondary School Games in Mombasa just before the trials, which she competed in and won the 200m and 400m, while withstanding pain.
“Going forward, I want to concentrate on 200m and 400m. I have dropped 100m which is tricky because once your competitor is off the mark, it is hard to beat her,” said Moraa.