Kenyan Phenom Mary Moraa Faces Off Against British Record Holder in Epic Showdown

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 – Mary Moraa faces Jemma Reekie in Doha Diamond League

Moraa: Kenyan record holder, recent victories

Reekie: British record holder, notable achievements

Other competitors: Yarigo, Goule-Toppin, Nakaayi

Moraa’s background: orphaned, athletic success

Moraa’s transition from 400m to 800m

Moraa’s recent performances: World Championships, Commonwealth Games

Mary Moraa will come up against standout rivals during the Doha Diamond League showdown on Friday, May 10, 2024.

The World champion will face the World Indoor Championships silver medallist Jemma Reekie of Great Britain in the 800m at the Seashore Group Doha Meeting.

Moraa, who is the Kenyan record holder over 400m (50.38), won the All-African Games 400m title in March 2024 and lowered her personal best from 2:03.27 in 2020 to 1:56.03 with victory at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest (2023).

Moraa’s rivals

The 23-year-old – who has become known for her dancing celebrations – finished third at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, won Commonwealth Games gold in Birmingham and was crowned Wanda Diamond League champion.

On the other hand, Reekie is a British indoor mile record holder (4:17.88) who rose to prominence as a double gold medallist over 800m and 1500m at the 2019 European Under-23 Championships. She has since delivered a series of impressive championship performances including finishing runner-up at the 2024 World Indoors in Glasgow and reaching the finals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo (2021) and World Championships in Budapest (2023), finishing fourth and fifth respectively.

Her personal best over 800m is 1:56.90, the fourth-fastest ever by a British woman.

While Moraa has defeated Reekie five times out of seven in their most recent head-to-heads, Reekie is fast returning to the form that saw her narrowly miss the Olympic podium in Tokyo. 

World Indoor Championships bronze medallist Noelie Yarigo of Benin, Olympic finalist and Jamaican record holder Natoya Goule-Toppin, and 2019 world champion Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda are the other names in the field.

Mary Moraa Profile

Mary Moraa (born 15 June 2000) is a Kenyan athlete who specializes in the 800 meters. She won the gold medal at the 2023 World Athletics Championships, a bronze medal in the event at the 2022 World Athletics Championships and a gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Moraa was orphaned at age 2 after the death of her father and then her mother. She grew up with her grandparents, in Kisii in western Kenya. She won an education bursary through running.

Moraa is the Kenyan record holder for the 400 metres. She was the 2022 Diamond League 800 m champion

Mary Moraa specialized in the 400 metres distance until 2021. She made her international debut at the World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi and won the silver medal in the event with a personal best time of 53.31 seconds.

The following year, the 18-year-old placed fifth over the same distance at the World U20 Championships held in Tampere, Finland, clocking new best of 52.85 s in the heats.

In 2019, she won in the 400 m the African U20 title, Kenyan senior title, and placed fourth at the African Games held in Rabat, Morocco.

 She reached the semi-finals in her individual event at the Doha World Championships. Her season’s best was 51.75 s. She made her debut in the 800 metres that year.

Moraa transitioned to the 800 metres in 2020, and represented Kenya at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 2021 competing in the event, where she was eliminated in the semi-finals with a time of 2:00.47.

In July 2022, Moraa won the bronze medal in the 800 m at the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, clocking a personal best of 1:56.71 behind Athing Mu (1:56.30) and Keely Hodgkinson (1:56.38).[6] The following month, she won a gold in the event at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games after storming through to beat Hodgkinson in the final. She went from first to last and back to first in that race.[8] In September, Moraa became the Diamond League 800 m champion after she won final in Zürich.

Circuit wins and titles, National titles

Diamond League 800 metres champion:  2022

800 metres wins, other events specified in parentheses

2022: Stockholm Bauhaus-galan, Zürich Weltklasse

2023: Rabat Meeting International (SB)

Kenyan Athletics Championships

400 metres: 2019

Personal Bests

400 metres – 50.38 (Nairobi 2023) NR

800 metres – 1:56.03 (Budapest 2023)

800 metres indoor – 2:00.61 (Liévin 2023)

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