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Janeth Kepkosgei Cruises to 1:56.17 World Leader in Semis of 800 at World Champs
By David Monti
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Aug 26, 2007

Who will win the
Women's 800m?
Ajee Wilson USA95.5%
Eunice Jepkoech Sum KEN1.1%
Raevyn Rogers USA1.1%
Hanna Green USA1%
Natoya Goule JAM0.7%
Catriona Bisset AUS0.2%
Lynsey Sharp GBR0.2%
Winnie Nanyondo UGA0.1%
Other 0.1%

OSAKA (26-Aug) -- It is possible that Janeth Kepkosgei misread her calendar today and thought it was Tuesday, the day of the women's 800m final.  Running like the title was on the line in tonight's semi-finals, Jepkosgei scorched a 1:56.17 to win the third heat, the fastest semi-final time ever recorded in an IAAF World Championships and the fastest time in the world this year.

"It's a new national record for Kenya and the world leading time for this season," Jepkosgei told IAAF interviewers after the race.  "To be honest, I'm a bit surprised.  I cannot believe it.  I just wanted to run my race."

Qualifying directly behind her were Maria Mutola and Hasna Benhassi who both ran under 1:57.  Slovenian Brigita Langerhorc, who finished fourth, ran a personal best of 1:58.41 and was the final time qualifier to the final.  Both Jenny Meadows of Great Britain (1:59.39) and Elodie Guegan of France (1:59.46) recorded career best times, but were unable to advance.

Setting the tone for these semi-finals was Sviatlana Usovich of Belarus who won the first heat, leading wire-to-wire in 1:58.11, a personal best.  Another medal favorite, Olga Kotlyarova of Russia, looked comfortable finishing second in 1:58.56, to also advance.

Heat-two saw Russia's Svetlana Klyuka pull away from a pack of six athletes on the second to last turn to win easily in 1:58.97.  Mayte Martínez of Spain showed an excellent sustained drive in the last 50 meters to pass Amina Ait Hammou of Morocco and Marilyn Okoro of Great Britain to take second and secure her spot in Tuesday's final.  Defending world champion Zulia Calatayud of Cuba finished last.

Remarkably, 14 of the 24 women in the semi-finals broke the two minute barrier.

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