Leap of faith: Why 400m champ Moraa is opting for 800m


Leap of faith: Why 400m champ Moraa is opting for 800m
Mary Moraa off the blocks at the World Under 18 Championship starts at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, July 12, 2017. Photo by Tabitha Otwori/Sportpicha

In Summary

  • Her debut at the World Championships, in Doha last year, ended in the semi-finals after picking up a knee injury.
  • But before she can make the big transition, Moraa, 20, will feature in her final 400m lap at the Kip Keino Classic scheduled for  October 3 at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi then get into 800 metres in future races.
  • Moraa fell in the 400 metres category after last season's results were used to select athletes to represent Kenya in the continental tour.

World U-18 400m silver medalist and Africa Under-20 champion Mary Moraa has decided to transition to the 800m from her usual 400m race category saying she sees more opportunities to flourish in the former.

“I will not continue to feature in the 400m category. I have decided to start running in the 800m because I see many opportunities in future. This is because in 400m its very competitive and the athletes from Jamaica and USA have been trained well on sprinting unlike Africans,”she explained.

“I started thinking of this change since last year. I started my 800m journey at the Athletics Kenya (AK) meeting in Eldoret, finishing third. I won the second meeting in Kasarani, Nairobi with my best time of 2:03 minutes locally. With such time, that is when I realized I can compete against the best on the international stage,” said the Kisii born runner.

Her debut at the World Championships, in Doha last year, ended in the semi-finals after picking up a knee injury.

But before she can make the big transition, Moraa, 20, will feature in her final 400m lap at the Kip Keino Classic scheduled for  October 3 at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi then get into 800 metres in future races.

Moraa fell in the 400 metres category after last season’s results were used to select athletes to represent Kenya in the continental tour.

“I am ready to run the 400m during the Kip Keino Classic as selected. The Continental Tour will help me gauge my speed and endurance after the long coronavirus break,”she added.

Last year the World Under-18 bronze medalist participated in the mixed 4 × 400 metres relay event at the 2019 World Athletics Championships together with the women’s 4 × 400 metres relay at the 12th African Games held in Rabat, Morocco. The first time that the African Games were hosted by Morocco following the country’s readmission to the African Union in January 2017.

Mary Moraa photos competing during the Kisii Track and Field Meeting 4X400 (044) (PHOTO/Charity Wanja)
(FILE)Mary Moraa photos competing during the Kisii Track and Field Meeting 4X400 (044) (PHOTO/Charity Wanja)

Moraa was planning to take part in the World Under 20 in Nairobi but after postponement to next year due to coronavirus, she has been forced to sit out due to age factor.

The World U-20 will feature  athletes aged 16, 17, 18 or 19 years by December 31, 2021 which means Moraa will be one year older and thus ineligible.

Her Diamond League debut last May in Doha, Qatar was also messed up by the virus.

She stormed into the global scene when she overcame a daunting challenge to strike gold for Kenya in the 4x400m mixed relay at the 2017 World U-18 Championships that were held at the MISC Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi.

Having excelled at the youth level, she says she is ready to compete at the top and has set her sights on representing Kenya in the Olympic Games set for Tokyo, Japan.

Moraa trains in Elgeyo Marakwet under Global Sports Communication, a camp that features among others, world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, world half marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor, former world 3,000m steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng and Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon.

 

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Story By Mkalla Wa Mwambodze
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