Little-known Kenyan Eunice Sum wins a shock 800 metres world title, with home favourite Maria Savinova only second.
MOSCOW, RUSSIA (AUGUST 18, 2013) (AMS/DENTSU/REUTERS) - Little-known Kenyan Eunice Sum silenced the Moscow crowd with her 800 metres victory over home favourite Maria Savinova at the world championships on Sunday (August 18) after being inspired by compatriot Asbel Kiprop's 1,500 gold in the previous race.
Savinova, the Olympic and defending world champion, was roared round the two laps of the Luzhniki stadium but Sum timed her late burst through the middle to perfection, knocking almost two seconds of her personal best with a time of one minute 57.38 seconds.
"I'm very happy. I was impressed by my running. I didn't know that I was going to run like this. I'm now very happy," Sum said after the finish.
The huge personal best time by Sum was probably due to the fact that she is a relative novice in the discipline.
"You know many people did not expect (my win) because normally I'm a 1,500 metres runner. I just came to the world championships to try 800 metres," Sum said.
American Alysia Johnson Montano, fastest in the semi-finals, pulled away from the start and led by 10 metres at the bell but was clearly tying up as the athletes rounded the home bend and had nothing left to give in the dash for the line.
It was left to Savinova and Sum to battle for the gold and with the finish closing in, the Kenyan trials winner powered past her rival and threw her arms into the air as she crossed the line.
The Russian was second in 1:57.80.
Savinova conceded she had underestimated the little-known Kenyan.
"I felt myself better today than in the previous runs. But the final didn't go my way. It was a tactical run after all and I made a mistake there. A mistake on the finish where I lost the Kenyan (Sum) and lost the gold," Savinova said.
"In a couple of days time I will be happy I won it, but right now I'm not happy," she added.
American Brenda Martinez snatched third (1:57.91) from Montano who threw herself over the line before dissolving into tears.
Martinez, on the contrary, was delighted after the finish.
"Super, grateful, motivated - just everything. In a positive way, you know, I'll be all the feelings of positivity right now," she said.
"You know the 800 (metres) I feel is probably one of the hardest events - you know you have a combination of speed and endurance. You know I've been working all those energy systems the right way to the fullest - and I know it's paying off," she added.