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Fast times in Bislett 800m

The women’s 800m at the ExxonMobil Bislett is already shaping as potentially the fastest race of the 2010 season. With the Samsung Diamond League heading to Oslo, a quality field will face the starter’s gun and quick times are virtually assured. Ireland’s Karen Shinkin is responsible to ensuring a fast, even pace that can give all the competitors a realistic chance of completing the two laps in well under 2 minutes.

Reigning European Champion Mariya Savinova has a best of 1.57.56. The Russian enjoyed a string of fast times last season and was most impressive in Barcelona, her powerful finish carrying her to an emphatic victory in 1.58.22 over the surprising Dutch woman Yvonne Hak (an confirmed starter in Oslo) whose stirring second place in 1.58.88 reminded fans of the great Ellen Van Langen.

The ever enthusiastic fans in Oslo’s will “lift the roof” off Bislett stadium if local hero Ingvill Måkestad looms up on the leaders shoulder at any stage in the last lap. The stylish Norwegian who boasts a personal best of 1.59.82 has enjoyed a remarkable return to athletics after injury curtailed her career in mid 2000s. She has meticulously prepared for this race and is undoubtedly chasing a new Norwegian record which the Bislett crowd would be immensely supportive of!

Britain’s Jenny Meadows has looked first class so far this season, winning tactical races in both Shangahi and Hengelo and will be keen to revise her personal best of 1.57.93. Meadows has minor medals at World, World Indoor and European Championships and has developed a very powerful sprint finish.

Great interest will follow the World Champion Caster Semenya who is steadily regain her form. Her personal best is an impressive at 1.55.45, when she won in Berlin in 2009 and has already raced a couple of times in her native South Africa and has no fear of a fast pace.

Another former World Champion is Janeth Jepkosgei-Buseinei is also rounding into very good form. The Italian based Kenyan was world Champion in 2007, where she recorded her best time of 1.56.08. She has subsequently placed second in both the Olympic Games and another World Championships. Jepkosgei-Buseinei recently showed excellent stamina in the 1500m at Rome’s Golden Gala, where she ran 4.04.87, just outside her personal best.

Two other Russians with outstanding personal bests are both coming to ExxonMobil Bislett Games to recapture their best form. Sevetlana Klyuka and Ekaterina Kostetskaya both represented Russia at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, both have personal bests in the 1.56 range and both are looking to capitalize on a period of excellent pre-season training.

When all these outstanding competitors come together in the atmosphere at Bislett, there is only one thing you can suspect ... fast times.