Nairobi – After winning her first ever Diamond League trophy in Zurich on Thursday, Commonwealth Games 800m champion Mary Moraa took some time to cheer on World and Olympic 800m champion Emmanuel Korir.
Moraa said it was only natural for her to offer support to her compatriot, noting that the two have a rich history of training together.
“After I finished I was watching my teammate Korir win the men’s 800m and that was great. We’ve been teammates since we were 18 and we sometimes we train together so I was happy that he won right after me,” Moraa said.
The World 800m bronze medalist clocked 1:57.63 to break the tape in the women’s 800m as Jamaican Natoya Goule and American Sage Hurta took second and third in 1:57.85 and 1:58.47 respectively.
Moraa took her first ever Diamond League win in June in Rabat, Morocco before finishing fourth in Rome.
However, he bounced back impressively at the next leg in Stockholm, Sweden where he clocked 1:57.68 to take top honours.
After a slow start to the year, the 400m and 800m national record holder has improved impressively and will look to bronze in Oregon, gold in Birmingham and the Diamond League as evidence of her best season again.
Moraa, who just switched to 800m last year (having previously specialized in 400m), said she wants to pick up next year from where she left off in 2022.
“I’m happy for my first diamond trophy, I’m happy for my country, I’m happy for my fans around the world. Now, the season is over for me and it will have like 3-4 weeks to away. Then I start my program for next season and I will continue with the 800m. I know I have to improve my speed, I need to work on the 400m,” he said.
Indeed, the 800m has given Team Kenya a reason to smile this year considering the successes of Moraa and Korir in their respective divisions.
Korir clocked a world-leading 1:43.26 to claim a second Diamond League trophy in the men’s division as Canadian Marco Arop (1:43.38) and World 1500m champion Jake Wightman (1:44.10) of Great Britain finished second and third in the that order.
Despite the win, the US-based Kenyan admitted he had to sweat a little more than usual to get his win.
“The last few meters were really hard. I never expected to be this hard, but I did it. I was still behind in the last 200 meters – maybe the first 600 was a little too slow – so I had to push him to hope I could finish second or third but I managed to come first in the end,” he said.
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Winning the Diamond League trophy is the icing on the cake of a rich harvest for Korir after he won the world title in Oregon and a third place finish at the penultimate round of the Diamond League in Brussels, Belgium.
He credited his achievements so far to hard work in training.
“This is the result of hard work and a lot of training. You know, I was a bit behind today, but I didn’t give up – I always do my best, and now I have the Diamond League trophy,” Korir, who trains under legendary Kenyan runner Paul Ereng, said.
Korir also won Kenya’s first gold medal at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, leading to Kenya’s 1-2 finish with silver medalist Ferguson Rotich.