Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson had to settle for silver as Mary Moraa triumphed in a thrilling 800m final at the World Championships in Budapest.
Targeting a first global title, the 21-year-old Hodgkinson clocked one minute 56.34 seconds to match her 2022 medal.
Kenyan Moraa won with a personal best 1:56.03 as defending champion Athing Mu took bronze in a captivating battle.
GB added bronze in both the men’s and women’s 4x400m relays to equal their best medal haul at a championships.
The men’s quartet of Alex Haydock-Wilson, Charlie Dobson, Lewis Davey and Rio Mitcham finished in 2:58.71, behind the USA (2:57.31) and France (2:58.45).
Laviai Nielsen, Amber Anning, Ama Pipi and Nicole Yeargin ran 3:21.04 to make the final podium of the championships, as Femke Bol completed a stunning personal story by leading the Netherlands to gold in 3:20.72.
Bol, who suffered a dramatic fall in the closing stages of the mixed 4x400m relay on the opening day, overhauled Jamaica (3:20.88) to deliver a sensational finale.
Those third-place finishes took GB to 10 medals – securing the team’s best performance for 30 years.
There was so very nearly a final day gold medal for the British team to celebrate.
Olympic silver medallist Hodgkinson, who missed out on last year’s 800m world title to Athing Mu by an agonising 0.08secs in Eugene, found space on the inside as she attempted to catch the fast-finishing Moraa in the closing stages.
But as Moraa skipped in delight after upgrading her 2022 bronze to gold, Hodgkinson initially looked disheartened before proudly celebrating her third global medal.
Mu took bronze as a captivating battle between the three main contenders unfolded, while Jemma Reekie finished fifth (1:57.72) in her first world final.
It was yet another outstanding performance by Hodgkinson, who will again target gold at the Paris 2024 Olympics following another significant year of progress at the start of her career.
“To be consistently at the top with the best of the world is all I want with my career,” Hodgkinson said.
“Another podium. Another medal. So that’s definitely a positive.”
She added: “I did think I was going to come through on the inside and then the line just came quicker than I thought it would.
“I gave it my all like I always do. I don’t really think I put a foot wrong.”
Silver again for Hodgkinson in latest ‘big three’ chapter
One of the most anticipated showdowns of the championships, the women’s 800m final pitted Hodgkinson against two athletes who, between them, had denied the European champion three further major golds in a sensational start to her professional career.
American phenomenon Mu, also 21, repeated her Tokyo Olympics triumph over Hodgkinson by the narrowest of margins in Eugene last year, before 23-year-old Moraa inflicted Commonwealth Games heartbreak.
But those experiences have only made Hodgkinson more determined in her pursuit of glory.
Responding to the setbacks, Hodgkinson won her first major outdoor gold at the European Championships last August and improved her British record to 1:55.77 this season – still the fastest time in the world this year.
Only Moraa, at the Lausanne Diamond League, had denied the Leigh athlete victory in 12 races over 800m this year – the Kenyan’s unpredictable racing style once again frustrating in an otherwise flawless build-up.
And it was Moraa, renowned for her devastating closing speed, who powered on to victory in Budapest as Hodgkinson moved past the fading Mu but could not overhaul the Kenyan.
“I was really looking forward to today. I was really up for it. I really did believe I was going to win,” Hodgkinson said.
“You’ve got to believe, that’s half the battle. Who knows what the order will be next year.
“One of these days I will get the top spot. Today, it’s just not meant to be.
“I think [going into an] Olympic year, everyone brings even more of their A-game than they usually do. There’s no stone left unturned this year. We’ll just aim for gold again and see what happens.”
Bol stars on final night as GB collect relay prizes
Great Britain matched their 2022 bronze in the women’s 4x400m – Yeargin clinching a podium place as Bol successfully chased down Jamaica.
It was 400m champion Bol who was firmly in the spotlight, adding her second gold medal and bringing the crowd to their feet.
Bronze represented significant progress for the British men’s quartet, who did not participate last year.
In the absence of 400m silver medallist Matthew Hudson-Smith, who has been managing a foot injury this year, Mitcham held on to keep the Jamaican quartet at bay.
There was a fourth-placed finish for Morgan Lake in the women’s high jump final with a clearance at 1.97m as Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh won her first global outdoor title following world silvers in 2019 and 2022.
Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen bounced back from his shock loss to Britain’s Josh Kerr in the 1500m final to defend his title in the men’s 5,000m, winning in 13:11.30.
Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra won India’s first ever World Championship gold as he took the javelin title with a best throw of 88.17m.
Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Winfred Yavi took victory in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase as the last of 49 golds were decided on Sunday.