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  • The women's 800 metres at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics was held at the Olympic Stadium on 16, 17 and 19 August. Prior to the championships, there was no clear favourite for the race – the twenty fastest times of the season had been run by seventeen different athletes. The reigning World and Olympic champions, Janeth Jepkosgei and Pamela Jelimo, had not shown the dominance of previous seasons. The two fastest runners of the season, Caster Semenya and Maggie Vessey, had recently set personal bests but lacked any major championships experience, while third best Anna Alminova was a 1500 metres specialist. European Indoor Champion Mariya Savinova and Svetlana Klyuka, fourth at the Olympics, were other strong competitors. The 2007 World medallists Hasna Benhassi and Mayte Martínez, and Olympic finalist Yuliya Krevsun were also predicted as medal possibilities. The events in the heats resulted in a surprise decision: world-leader Semenya accidentally tripped Jepkosgei and the defending champion finished last in the first heat. The Kenyan athletics federation appealed the decision and she was reinstated to run in the second semi-final, and Semenya was not disqualified as her actions were deemed unintentional. Yuliya Krevsun, Elisa Cusma Piccione, and Zulia Calatayud were the fastest of the heat winners on the first day of competition. With only eight places on offer, there were a number of high-profile scalps in the semi-finals. The first race saw past medallists Calatayud and Benhassi fail to qualify, Svetlana Klyuka was fifth in the second heat, while Vessey and Jelimo dropped out in the third semi-final of the day. Caster Semenya was the fastest in the preliminaries with 1:58.66.

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