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Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers' Marilyn Okoro reflects on World Championships semi-final exit
11:25am Monday 19th August 2013 in Sport
Marilyn Okoro might have missed out on a World Athletics Championships medal but the 800m runner admitted it was just nice to be back out on the big stage again.
The 28-year-old headed to Moscow last week looking to put the disappointment of missing out on London 2012 firmly behind her.
And Okoro looked liked doing exactly that as she produced a storming run in her first Luzhniki Stadium outing on Thursday, recording a season’s best 1.59.43 to finish second in her heat.
However it was a different story in her semi-final 24 hours later as she finished seventh in 2.02.26, missing out on a spot in the showpiece.
But despite failing to make the final eight Okoro insists she was able to leave Russia with her head held high, considering she contemplated leaving the sport altogether following her Olympic heartbreak.
“Maybe the lack of winter base is really catching up with me – that’s where you really need it in a championship,” said the Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier, who upped sticks to America to work with new coach Johnny Gray.
“I’m so disappointed in the race but I can’t complain; I am very thankful to be here and I didn’t think I was going to have a season at all, but now I am and about to start the second half.
“I am disappointed but I need keep head up and carry on. When you get to such a low point that you think about quitting it is amazing to be back at a World Championships and I’m glad I kept going.
“Especially given the change of coach just in April. It was not ideal time but I needed to do something to salvage my career.
“It is all about the next four years and this first step for me so I am excited. I know I have got a 1.58 in me and I have a few races left this season and try and get that.”
While the first 800m semi-final was run at a quicker pace, American Alysia Johnson Montano winning in 1.58.92, Okoro’s race was slower with Kenya’s Eunice Jepkoech Sum coming home almost two seconds later.
And while Okoro insists she could have taken the race on, she admitted the memories of going out hard at the London 2012 trials before imploding to finish fifth – and thus miss out on the Games – held her back.
“I’m disappointed in the semi-final, especially since it was a slower time and perhaps my front running style would have been better,” she added.
“But given how little I’ve done I just wanted to be dragged along but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. I was confident after the heat but maybe that cost me in the semi-final.
“Taking the race on was not the plan as I tried it in London and I was not strong enough as I didn’t have the training behind me.”
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