Day 1 World Indoors: Galen Rupp Goes Home, Meet Ilham Tanui, Centrowitz, Erica Moore, Areson, Hall Make Final
March 9, 2012
The World Indoor Championships in Istanbul Turkey got underway with the morning session that featured the men's 1500m semfinal, the women's 800m and 3000m semis and round 1 of the 800. Tonight, in the evening session (12 noon eastern in the US) Bernard Lagat gets underway in the 3000m. Highlights below.
Men's 1500m: The Favorites Advance, Rupp Goes Home
For American distance fans, the men's 1500m semifinal was the most anticipated event of the morning session it featured two former Oregon Ducks, World Outdoor Championship bronze medallist Matt Centrowitz and American 10,000m record holder Galen Rupp.
With 3 athletes in each heat advancing automatically to the final on time and then the next 3 fastest losers advancing, being in heat 1 was a disadvantage. Rupp and training partner Ciaran O'Lionaird were both in heat 1 along with 3:29.53 1500m man Amine Laalou of Morocco and Turkey's own world junior record holder in the mile (3:49.29 set in 2009) Ilham Tanui Özbilen. Didn't know Turkey had great distance runners? Ilham Tanui is the new name of William Tanui formerly of Kenya. The big news is Ilham who was not eligible to compete at Worlds last year because of his nationality switch, was late last month cleared to compete here and the Olympics. Medalling just got that much harder.
Semi #1 went out slow (1:34.28 for 600m). From their the pace would only get quicker after Tanui took the lead at 800 in 2:04.48. Each lap would only get faster until the finish. On the next lap, Rupp started to make his bid as he pushed from mid pack to the front. He challenged Tanui for the lead, but Tanui would not give it up as he continued to ratchet down the pace, intent to stay in front. The real running was on and O'Lionaird was caught in the back of the pack and wouldn't be a factor. By 1200 (3:00.14) Tanui was still in front and Aman Wote of Ethiopia and Bethwell Birgen of Kenya had pushed Rupp into 4th out of the automatic qualifying spots. Laalou would push Rupp into 5th at the bell and that was where he would stay as Laalou passed Birgen for the final automatic qualifying spot on the last lap. Up front there was one constant, Ilham Tanui. The young Turk was very impressive controlling the race from 800m on getting the win in his Turkish coming out party in 3:41.93 ahead of Wote.
Tanui was not surprised by his success saying, "I am going for the win in tomorrow's final."
|1||298||Ilham Tanui Özbilen||TUR||3:41.93 Q||.||
|2||103||Aman Wote||ETH||3:42.24 Q||.|
|3||198||Amine Laalou||MAR||3:42.36 Q||.|
Semi # 2 featured World Championship silver medallist Silas Kiplagat (the guy who ran his still standing pr of 3:29.27 in his first European race ever) and bronze medallist Matt Centrowitz, plus 5th placer from Worlds Abdalaati Iguider.
If the athletes would keep the pace honest in heat 2, six of them would make the final. Russian Egor Nikolaev made sure it was honest as he led through 800m in 1:58.28 where Matt Centrowitz was back in 8th place. Brit James Brewer then took over and pushed through 1200m in 2:56.44. The athletes may not have realized it, but six guys were going to go through from this semi.
Centrowitz moved up to as high as third but when the real battle for home started on the last lap, he would fall back to 5th. Abdalaati Iguider had taken the lead at the bell and he would blast the last lap to convincingly win in 3:38.41. Mekonnen Gebremedhin of Ethiopia was a clear second. Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti was just ahead of Kiplagat for the final automatic qualifying spot in a national record of 3:39.51. Kiplagat then let up right before the line, letting Centro move up to 4th but it wouldn't make a difference as Francisco Abad who was a second back in 6th would also make the final. The time qualifiers should thank Nikolaev and Brewer, neither who made the final.
Quick Thoughts: Tanui and Iguider looked great. Tanui was going to be one of our darkhorse picks for Worlds last year until we found out he couldn't compete. If he gets the gold here, he won't be a darkhorse heading into London. Kiplagat and Centrowitz were outmatched here, but none of that matters as they start from scratch in Saturday's final (noon eastern in the US). Rupp's best event is the 10,000m or half-marathon but he put on a credible performance here. Drawing heat 1 made the task of making the final almost impossible.
|1||197||Abdalaati Iguider||MAR||3:38.41 Q||.||
|2||101||Mekonnen Gebremedhin||ETH||3:39.16 Q||.|
|3||78||Ayanleh Souleiman||DJI||3:39.51 Q||(NR)|
|4||316||Matthew Centrowitz||USA||3:39.54 q||.|
|5||185||Silas Kiplagat||KEN||3:39.59 q||.|
|6||84||Francisco Javier Abad||ESP||3:40.55 q||.|
Women's 800: Erica Moore Makes the Final
With 3 semi-finals and only the winner of each semifinal plus the next 3 times advancing to the final, there was no room for error.
Heat 1 was stacked as it featured 1:56.99 800m runner Yuliya Rusanova of Russia and the 2008 Olympic champ Pamela Jelimo of Kenya who is having a resurgent comeback year so far this indoor season.
Rusanova and Jelimo battled the final lap with Rusanova getting the win. However Jelimo and Nataliia Lupa of Ukraine would both make the final.
Fantu Magiso of Ethiopia would only advance from semi #2.
In Semifinal #3 Elena Kofanova got the win but the dominant US Champ Erica Moore would advance to the final on time after running an indoor pr of 2:00.24 (outdoor pr is 2:00.17). Moore's impressive indoor season continues.
|1||4||736||Yuliya Rusanova||RUS||2:00.26 Q||(SB)|
|2||3||658||Pamela Jelimo||KEN||2:00.32 q||.|
|3||5||779||Nataliia Lupu||UKR||2:01.17 q||(PB)|
|1||5||587||Fantu Magiso||ETH||2:01.69 Q||(PB)|
|1||4||733||Elena Kofanova||RUS||1:59.80 Q||.|
|2||3||815||Erica Moore||USA||2:00.24 q||(PB)|
|.||6||638||Elisa Cusma Piccione||ITA||DNF||.|
Women's 3000m Defar and Kibet Preview the Final and Both Americans Make the Final
Heat 1 had the firepower with 4 time defending World indoor champ Meseret Defar of Ethiopia and two time World Championship outdoor silver medallist Sylvia Kibet of Kenya in the heat. Defar is the bigger name but Kibet has finished one spot ahead of her at the last two outdoor World Champs.
Defar and Kibet both advanced with ease but the other news of note was last year's NCAA indoor 5000m champion Jackie Areson made the final with an automatic qualifier by .01. Areson is an Alberto Salazar's Oregon Project athlete.
Kibet indicatd afterwards she may not be 100% saying, "I would like to get a medal at least. My shape is not the best at the moment. I was feeling sick because of a gastritis. I did not even expect to qualify for the World championships. I was surprised when I did and happy. But now I really would like a medal."
|1||585||Meseret Defar||ETH||9:11.76 Q||.|
|2||659||Sylvia Jebiwott Kibet||KEN||9:11.91 Q||.|
|3||787||Svitlana Shmidt||UKR||9:12.39 Q||.|
|4||796||Jackie Areson||USA||9:12.62 Q||(SB)|
The women in heat 2 did what they should do and that is make sure 8 of the 10 of them make the final (track and field needs to have less time qualifiers in longer distance events as the last heat has a huge advantage). That included winner of the heat, Gelete Burka of Ethiopia (the 2008 world indoor 1500m champion and 2010 world indoor 1500m bronze medallist, who is moving up in distance here) and American Sara Hall wife of American marathoner Ryan Hall.
|1||584||Gelete Burka||ETH||9:01.32 Q||.|
|2||660||Hellen Onsando Obiri||KEN||9:01.36 Q||.|
|3||788||Nataliya Tobias||UKR||9:01.76 Q||.|
|4||539||Shitaye Eshete||BRN||9:02.13 Q||.|
|5||595||Helen Clitheroe||GBR||9:02.27 q||.|
|6||804||Sara Hall||USA||9:02.49 q||.|
|7||775||Alia Saeed Mohammed||UAE||9:02.56 q||.|
|8||700||Lidia Chojecka||POL||9:02.93 q||.|
Men's 800m Round 1: Ismail Out, Americans Advance
Unlike the women's 800m which was a semifinal, the men's 800m has 3 rounds. The results are here but the only news of note was that Ismail Ismail, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist from Sudan didn't advance to the semi. American Tevan Everett and Michael Rutt both advanced.
Dylan Armstrong, the silver medalliast in Daegu in the shot, did not make the final. He told the IAAF, "I felt pain in my throw arm in my first attempt. I felt it before in training so I was doing light throws. I was hesitant and did not want to risk my preparation for London. I will see my medical team upon my return. "