Henrik Ingebrigtsen and Chris O’Hare Win Two 1500 Heats At Europeans To Advance To Final

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By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

ZÜRICH (15-Aug) — Reigning European 1500m champion, Henrik Ingebrigtsen of Norway, led all qualifiers in the first round of the men’s 1500m here this morning at the 21st European Championships in Athletics at Stadion Letzigrund.  Competing in the first of two heats, the 23 year-old got out quickly, controlled the pace, and was able to relax a little before crossing the finish line in 3:39.32, just ahead of a fast-closing Charlie Grice of Great Britain.

“I felt strong during the race,” Ingebrigtsen told Race Results Weekly.  “I took some precautions during the race and I went off to the front to avoid some of the positioning and the elbows of the other guys.  I got the answers I wanted and I’m looking forward to the final on Sunday.”

1500 Results
Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResult
1Henrik INGEBRIGTSENNOR9103:39.32Q
2Charlie GRICEGBR9303:39.41Q
3Mahiedine MEKHISSI BENABBADFRA8503:39.43Q
4Tarik MOUKRIMEBEL9203:39.50Q
5Stanislav MASLOVUKR8903:39.63q
6Jakub HOLUŠACZE8803:39.64q
7Ciaran O’LIONAIRDIRL8803:39.79
8Florian ORTHGER8903:39.99
9Pieter-Jan HANNESBEL9203:40.34
10Goran NAVASRB8103:41.43
11Emanuel ROLIMPOR9303:42.22
12Mohad ABDIKADARITA9303:46.07
13Adel MECHALESP9003:47.60
14John TRAVERSIRL9103:49.73
15Amine KHADIRICYP8803:50.15
16Kelvin GOMEZGIB9204:05.71
Heat 2
Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResult
1Chris O’HAREGBR9003:39.24Q
2Homiyu TESFAYEGER9303:39.64Q
3Timo BENITZGER9103:39.83Q
4Paul ROBINSONIRL9103:39.83Q
5Ilham Tanui ÖZBILENTUR9003:40.09
6Florian CARVALHOFRA8903:40.39
7Manuel OLMEDOESP8303:40.48
8Filip INGEBRIGTSENNOR9303:41.06
9Isaac KIMELIBEL9403:41.96
10Andreas BUENODEN8803:42.06
12Dmitrijs JURKEVIČSLAT8703:45.92
13Jonas LEANDERSSONSWE9103:49.64
14Soufiane EL KABBOURIITA9304:02.76q
15David BUSTOSESP9004:21.39q

Finishing third with a strong final 50-meter sprint was France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, who had finished first in the men’s steeplechase last night, but was disqualified for removing his uniform top about 100 meters from the finish line.  He spoke briefly to the French press, and L’Equipe reporter Nicolas Herbelot offered this translation:

“I was happy and sad at the same time,” he said of last night’s race.  “I wanted to make history.  Last night I didn’t sleep.  I knew I had to come back today.”  He continued: “I hope in the final I will show everyone I am the big champion.”

Also advancing on time was reigning Irish 1500m champion Ciaran O’Lionaird who is still rebuilding after Achilles surgery.  He was delighted –and relieved– to have made the final; he had to wait for the results of the second heat to know for sure.

“It’s nerve-wracking,” said O’Lionaird after watching the second heat from the mixed zone under the stadium.  “It’s not the way I would have liked it.”  He added: “Ten months off surgery and I’m back in the European final.  I couldn’t be happier.”

Britain’s Chris O’Hare, the former NCAA star for the University of Tulsa, won the second heat with a powerful sprint over the last 200m.  O’Hare ignored the aggressive first 400 meters by Ilham Tanui Özbilen of Turkey (56.7), and waited for the final lap to make his statement.  He clocked 3:39.24 ahead of Germany’s Homiyu Tesfaye –a gold medal favorite along with Ingebrigtsen– and his German teammate Timo Benitz.

“Everybody knows Özbilen likes to push it,” O’Hare told reporters.  “Tesfaye likes to push it from a long way out.  I was confident it was going to be quick, so I sat in the back… and came in the end to pick up the last couple.”

Women’s Steeple

In the first round of the women’s steeplechase, athletes overcame cold (14 Ceslsius -57 Fahreinheit)) and wet conditions to advance to the final.  The first of two heats was the fastest, won by Sviatlana Kudzelich of Belarus in 9:46.89.  She led a small group of three, including Russia’s Natalya Vlasova and Germany’s Gesa Krause, who finished close behind her, also qualifying for the final.

“My goal was to qualify in the top-5 for the finals, directly,” Krause said in English.  “So I’m really happy it worked out, and I felt really good.”

Key athletes who also advanced included Bulgaria’s Silvia Danekova, who won the second heat in 9:51.67 ahead of Krause’s German teammate Antje Möldner-Schmidt (9:52.02); Sweden’s Charlotta Fougberg (9:52.04), the Swedish national record-holder, and Latvia’s Polina Jelizarova (9:52.58), who had pushed the pace through the entire race and had faded in the final sprint.

Also advancing was the sentimental favorite, Fabienne Schlumpf of Switzerland.  Spurred on by the partisan crowd,  she sprinted hard to claim the fifth position in the first heat, the last automatic qualifying spot.  She was overwhelmed by the support, she said.

“The feeling was great,” Schlumpf told Race Results Weekly.  “This feeling once in your life and I wanted to enjoy it.  It was great to run here.”

Women’s 3000mSC  Results
Heat 1
Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResult
1Sviatlana KUDZELICHBLR8709:46.89Q
2Natalya VLASOVARUS8809:47.31Q
3Gesa Felicitas KRAUSEGER9209:47.36Q
4Sandra ERIKSSONFIN8909:50.00Q
5Fabienne SCHLUMPFSUI9009:51.45Q
6Maruša MIŠMAŠSLO9409:51.51q
7Özlem KAYATUR9009:56.49q
8Cristina CASANDRAROU7710:00.48q
9Jekaterina PATJUKEST8310:03.60
10Ingeborg LØVNESNOR9210:18.11
Heat 2
Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResult
1Silvia DANEKOVABUL8309:51.67Q
3Charlotta FOUGBERGSWE8509:52.04Q
4Polina JELIZAROVALAT8909:52.58Q
5Diana MARTÍNESP8109:52.63Q
6Katarzyna KOWALSKAPOL8509:52.66q
7Johanna RISKU-LEHTINENFIN7909:53.86q
8Valeria ROFFINOITA9010:07.58
9Jana SUSSMANNGER9010:07.99
10Yekaterina SOKOLENKORUS9210:08.76
11Astrid LEUTERTSUI8710:15.29


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