Keith McGhie in Gold Coast @Peoplesport11
Margaret Nyareira Wambui believes the time could be right for her to claim a first-ever victory over Caster Semenya and take gold for Kenya in the women’s 800m final this evening.
Wambui cruised through yesterday’s heats, winning her qualifier by easing passed Natoya Goule, from Jamaica, and England’s Sheleyna Oskan-Clarke down the home straight to finish in a relatively modest 2:00.6.
South African Semenya, less than two days after beating Beatrice Chepkoech to the Commonwealth 1,500m crown, also won in a slightly faster 1:59.26 and both will be joined by Emily Cherotich Tuei and Eglay Nalyanya in tonight’s medal decider.
Cherotich had to work hard, coming from behind to snatch victory in the third heat by a mere 11 hundredths of a second from Ugandan Winnie Nanyondo, while Nalyanya needed a personal best 2:00.28 to qualify through a ‘fastest loser’ spot.
Wambui, 22, has never beaten Semenya but is the second fastest in the field and the only athlete close to the double Olympic and triple World Champion in the rankings. Kenya’s 2016 Olympic bronze medallist said: “So far so good – I am happy to qualify but now I must remain focussed for the final.
“Any tactics the others are going to use I will adapt to and hopefully emerge the winner. “Caster has done two 1,500m races as well as the 800m heat this week so maybe she has some fatigue as a result.
“I am still fresh and think I can give her some competition. From the way my training has been going and the way I felt today (in the semi-final), I am pretty sure I can beat her this time.”
The women’s 800m Final is at 2045 local time (1345 East African time) and is sandwiched in between other Kenyan medal bankers: the men’s 3,000m steeplechase at 1930 (12.30pm) and the men’s 10,000m at 2110 (2.10pm).