August 14, 2013
Moscow, Russia – Day five of the 2013 IAAF World Championships consisted of an morning session only. The session went well for the three Americans in the men’s 1500 as all three moved on to the semi-finals as automatic qualifiers.
The 1500m went well for all of the expected major players which was to be expected as 24 of the 37 starters moved on. The one scare was 2004 Olympic silver medalist Nick Willis, who had to get in as the last time qualifier. Of the 37 starters, four of them were IAAF wild-cards and hadn’t even broken 4:00 this year.
The semis went very well for the four Kenyans in the field as they all advanced. Asbel Kiprop, Nixon Chepseba, and Silas Kiplagat, the three Kenyans who went into last year’s Olympics as the top three seeds based on time but all flamed out in the final, all looked particularly good here as each one of them won one of the three heats run.
Below we’ve got the results of the heats and a brief recap with our analysis.
Heat 1: Asbel Kiprop looks good
|1||711||Asbel Kiprop||KEN||3:38.15 Q|
|2||776||Abdalaati Iguider||MAR||3:38.41 Q|
|3||1144||Lopez Lomong||USA||3:38.48 Q|
|4||343||Ayanleh Souleiman||DJI||3:38.63 Q|
|5||446||Florian Carvalho||FRA||3:38.70 Q|
|6||837||Henrik Ingebrigtsen||NOR||3:38.78 Q|
|7||432||Aman Wote||ETH||3:38.89 q|
|8||970||Valentin Smirnov||RUS||3:39.21 q|
|9||846||Nicholas Willis||NZL||3:39.83 q|
Splits: Kiprop 59.65, 2:00.19, 2:56.64. The bell split was 2:43.00.
After pulling a Mary Cain impersonation by running the first turn out in lane two in the back, the defending champion Asbel Kiprop moved up on the homestretch and controlled things from the front after that.
Behind him, Ayanleh Souleiman was doubling back from having won bronze in the 800 less than 13 hours before. Souleiman ended up getting in a battle for position with American Lopez Lomong heading into the bell. In the end, they’d both get in as automatic qualifiers.
2008 Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis ran in 11th for most of the race before passing two people on the final lap. When Willis started to move up with 200m to go, he bumped into the person in front of him and stumbled not helping his chances, but he would make the final on time.
Quick Thought (QT) #1: Kiprop comes in as the world leader and defending champion and the favorite and leaves the first round with all of that in tact. We spoke with him twice after the race and he confirmed that he is totally healthy and that training has been going well (Last year, he suffered an injury in training in Kenya and showed up hurt at the Olympics).
“I’m feeling good now. There is no kind of injury at the moment. And I believe if it goes this way in the semis and finals, I will contend for the gold,” said Kiprop who ran a world leading 3:27.72 in his last pre-Worlds race in Monaco.
When asked how confident he was, Kiprop was very humble.
“I don’t carry the confidence with me because if I carry a lot confidence it’s like under-rating the finalists because everyone that gets into the finals has the possibility to win the gold medal.”
QT #2: Our post-race chat with 1500 interview with Lopez Lomong is embedded on the right. He said he doesn’t consider himself to be a 1500 runner any more, but still talked about taking it one round at a time and trying to snag a medal in the final.
Our main thought while hearing him talk was, “If you aren’t a 1500 runner then why did you run the 1500 at the US Trials?”
QT #3: We spoke to Nick Willis, who has been off the circuit on paternity leave for most of the last two months, after the race, but before he’d advanced to the final on time. Willis offered no excuses about losing some momentum after some contact with about 200 left. Willis dismissed that incident as being a big deal and said he simply ran up on the guy.
Willis said he knows he’s really strong right now but that the speed is only starting to come around. He added that while he had recently run a 3:56 mile in Michigan, which may sound impressive that’s only equal to a 3:39 1500 which is what he ran this morning.
He said today’s felt like an all out Diamond League time trial from the moment the guy went off and he was just holding on the whole time. He said he’s hoping to move and hopefully find that missing pop as the rounds progress. You can listen/watch our interview with Willis here.
Heat #2: Silas Kiplagat and Leo Manzano Go 1-2
|1||710||Silas Kiplagat||KEN||3:39.31 Q|
|2||1146||Leonel Manzano||USA||3:39.39 Q|
|3||1073||Ilham Tanui Özbilen||TUR||3:39.73 Q|
|4||910||Johan Cronje||RSA||3:39.95 Q|
|5||543||Carsten Schlangen||GER||3:40.31 Q|
|6||779||Zakaria Mazouzi||MAR||3:40.76 Q|
|11||996||Omar Mohamed Abdi||SOM||4:00.00|
Turkey’s national record holder Ilham Tanui Özbilen led this one early on before Silas Kiplagat took over late. 2012 Olympic silver medallist Leo Manzano was positioned well throughout and moved up to second after being fourth at the bell.
QT #1: We were surprised that after the race Silas Kiplagat said the following, “The race was very tough. It was a tough race.” When we asked him why, he said, “All of the athletes are very strong.”
Was a memo sent around to the Kenyan team for them to be very modest and downplay their prospects after last year’s spectacular London flame out?
QT #2: The most interesting post-race interview of the day (well maybe O’Hare’s was weirder (see below) came from Manzano who doesn’t normally speak to the media until after the final. He said he had “three things to say.”
They were, “God bless America. God bless Texas (and) the Americas. Hook ’em Horns. I love New York and the Road Runners.”
QT #3:We asked Kenyan born Ilham Tanui Özbilen or Turkey about all of the doping that has been going on Turkey. He said that everyone is an individual and pointed out that he often doesn’t train in Turkey. You can listen/watch to our interview here. (and we were wrong in the interview, Ozbilen did run the Olympics last year)
QT #4: Zakaria Mazouzi of Morocco is a bit of a wild-card here as he’s improved a ton this year. We’ll be paying close attention to how he looks in the semi-final to see if he’s likely to break up a potential Kenyan sweep.
Heat 3: Chepseba wins as O’Hare gets rewarded for big mid-race push
|1||700||Nixon Kiplimo Chepseba||KEN||3:38.37 Q|
|2||242||Nathan Brannen||CAN||3:38.49 Q|
|3||421||Mekonnen Gebremedhin||ETH||3:38.55 Q|
|4||698||Bethwell Birgen||KEN||3:38.60 Q|
|5||1114||Matthew Centrowitz||USA||3:38.62 Q|
|6||547||Homiyu Tesfaye||GER||3:38.66 Q|
|7||472||Bouabdellah Tahri||FRA||3:38.82 q|
|8||497||Chris O’Hare||GBR||3:38.86 q|
|9||780||Mohamed Moustaoui||MAR||3:39.20 q|
|12||1203||Nabil Mohammed Al-Garbi||YEM||3:59.95||SB|
After an opening 2:01.58 800, NCAA star Chris O’Hare of Tulsa, who runs for Great Britain, made a bit push to the lead. He actually briefly gapped the field as the third 400 was run in a quick 55.79.
Coming down the homestretch, he got swallowed up by the pack but still hung on to qualify on time. Canada’s Nate Brannen, who fell at last year’s Olympics, looked good in coming home second in this heat. 2011 bronze medallist Matthew Centrowitz, who has been struggling in Europe this summer, moved up from 9th to 5th in the last 200 to move on as an auto qualifier.
Quick Take #1: O’Hare justly got a spot in the final after really working in the middle of this one. He worked so hard that he vomited in the middle of our post-race interview with him (embedded on right). Out of respect, we cut the interview there. Off camera, O’Hare said he doesn’t normally throw up after a race but we guess that’s what is the result of a 55 mid-race lap.
He said he’d re-assess his strategy for the semi-finals as he ran out of steam in the last 100 here.
O’Hare won big raves with the IAAF media handlers as he politely vomited into a plastic bag which he had with him to carry his post-race recovery drinks, instead of just projecting onto the floor. He said the British media representative had told him not to do it on the floor.
QT #2: Our post-race chat with Brannen is here. Brannen said he knew he only needed the ‘B’ standard to go to Worlds so that’s why he hasn’t been seen in Europe, but feels he’s in good shape.
QT #3: Our post-race interview with Centrowitz, who was sporting a shaved head, is embedded below.
Centrowitz said he was hitting his training pretty hard and that’s why he thought most of his pre-Worlds races didn’t go well but he was more rested up for this event obviously.
As for his shaved head? Well he wasn’t happy with his hair cut so he decided to get rid of it completely.