Maria Mutola lost her Commonwealth Games 800m title in the Melbourne Cricket Ground this evening on another night of record-breaking for Australian athletes. Perhaps she was jet lagged after all. Mutola looked so comfortable in getting to tonight’s 800m final that it was difficult to imagine anyone beating her, even Jamaica’s Kenia Sinclair who ran her close in the World Indoor final a couple of weeks ago.
And it looked like that until the final 80 metres of the race when Mutola – who’d sat on Sinclair’s shoulder for the entire race – prepared to unleash her kick. It simply wasn’t there. Not only was the front-running Sinclair strong enough to hold off Mutola but Kenya’s Janeth Jepkosgei floated by the 10-times World champion and Sinclair to steal the gold in 1:57.88.
Sinclair held on for the silver in a personal best 1:58.16 and Mutola was left with bronze in 1:58.77, her quickest of the year.