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LetsRun.com's 2009 IAAF Berlin World Championships Preview

Women's 1,500m - Exciting Entrants Make For Dramatic Race

By LetsRun.com
August, 2009

When: August 23 (finals), 21 (semis), 18 (heats)
*LRC's World Championship Prediction Contest
*LRC WC Previews/Results/Recaps By Event
*LRC WC Previews/Results/Recaps By Day
IAAF Worlds Page

The women's 1,500m is shaping up to be quite the competition. The main contenders come from Ethiopia, Kenya, the US, Russia and The Ukraine, and they are as diverse as the nations they represent.

Ethiopia will be led by Gelete Burka, who earlier in the year looked like the best women's miler in the world by far. But as always happens, some people come on later in the season and some fall off. Burka's fitness needs to be tip-top to even take down a medal in Berlin. If she's a little bit off, she'll be back in the pack like Alan Webb was in 2007. Maryam Jamal is Ethiopian-born but runs for Bahrain. She's the clear favorite and reigning world champion at the distance. She has been winning all of her big European races. All of the clues point to her winning this race, too.

Iryna Lishchynska of The Ukraine deserves mention as a pre-race favorite. She won't be a favorite to win the race, but will be favored for a medal if only because she's been the runner-up in the 2008 Olympics and 2007 Worlds. She has only run 4:05 this year but is dangerous in the 3-round championship format. Her competitors might take solace in Lishchynska's laid egg in Monaco, where she finished 13th in 4:13.

European Athletics Indoor Championships - Day Two Russian women really got on track at the Russain Trials after being non-existent most of the year. They'll deplane in Berlin with 3:57, 3:58, 4:00 and 4:00 personal bests. Their leader has to be Anna Alminova (seen left). After seven of the top Russian women got busted last year for swapping urine with clean competitors, it's plain hard to root for this bunch. Or perhaps we can all believe they are clean and fighting for pure, honest competition in sport!

America enters their strongest-ever 1,500m squad to a World Championships with the likes of Christin Wurth-Thomas (3:59.98 SB/PR), Anna Willard (4:01 SB/PR) and Shannon Rowbury (4:00 PR, 4:03 SB). What a year for American middle-distance women! And we doubt they're being systematically doped. American women are running so well that 3:59.90 runner Jenny Barringer isn't even running the 1,500m in an attempt to medal in the steeplechase. Add to that Maggie Vessey owning the top time in the world in the 800m just a few days ago ... whew!

So medals galore for the American 1,500m runners, right? Wrong. It'll be tough to get a top 5 finish with the aforementioned competition plus the Kenyan contingent yet to be discussed. We think Anna Willard has the best chance of medaling thanks to her speed, overall fitness/athleticism/endurance and competitiveness at the end of races. We're glad to see she chose the 1,500m over the steeple. Wurth-Thomas (right) has had a spectacular and aggressive season and might just get a medal. We're excited to see how many of the three can make the final and how high they can go.

U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials - Day Five The Kenyan trio of entrants will be very strong, as they have the reigning Olympic champion Nancy Lagat and former world junior champion and Kenyan Trials champion Irene Jelagat.

LRC Predictions:
Gold: Maryam Jamal BRN
Silver: Anna Alminova RUS
Bronze: Anna Willard USA
4th: Nancy Jebet Lagat KEN

Women's 1,500m Statistics By LRC Coaching Guru John Kellogg

3:56.55  Maryam Yusuf Jamal (BRN)  PR 3:56.18 (2006)   Gold medal in 2007 World Championships, bronze medal in 2006 World Indoor Championships, gold medal in 2006 World Cup, 4th in 2008 World Indoor Championships, 5th in 2008 Olympic Games, 5th in 2005 World Championships
3:58.38  Anna Alminova (RUS)   11th in 2008 Olympic Games
3:58.79  Gelete Burka (ETH)   Bronze medal in 2008 World Indoor Championships, 8th in 2005 World Championships
3:59.66  Natalya Evdokimova (RUS)  PR 3:57.73 (2005)   4th in 2004 Olympic Games
3:59.90  Jennifer Barringer (USA)+ (#3 all-time USA)
3:59.98  Christin Wurth-Thomas (USA) (#4 all-time USA)
4:00.86  Oksana Zbrozhek (RUS)
4:00.95  Mariem Alaoui Selsouli (MAR)   4th in 2007 World Championships
4:01.44  Anna Willard (USA) (#8 all-time USA)
4:02.13  Sonja Roman (SLO)
4:02.28  Lisa Dobriskey (GBR)  PR 4:02.10 (2008)   Gold medal in 2006 Commonwealth Games, 4th in 2008 Olympic Games
4:02.30  Sylwia Ejdys (POL)
4:02.43  Nuria Fernández (ESP)   7th in 2001 World Indoor Championships, 12th in 2001 World Championships, 7th in 2002 World Cup
4:02.70  Viola Kibiwot (KEN)
4:02.98  Kalkidan Gezahagne (ETH)
4:03.23  Btissam Lakhouad (MAR)   12th in 2008 Olympic Games
4:03.43  Hind Déhiba Chahyd (FRA)  PR 4:00.49 (2005)   4th in 2006 World Indoor Championships
4:03.48  Stephanie Twell (GBR)
4:03.74  Siham Hilali (MAR)   7th in 2008 World Indoor Championships, 10th in 2008 Olympic Games
4:03.92  Shannon Rowbury (USA)  PR 4:00.33 (#6 all-time USA) (2008)   7th in 2008 Olympic Games
4:03.92  Nataliya Panteleeva (RUS)  PR 4:00.81 (2006)   8th in 2007 World Championships
4:04.29  Hannah England (GBR)+
4:04.36  Mimi Belete (BRN)
4:04.84  Marta Domínguez (ESP)
4:05.05  Nancy Jebet Lagat (KEN)  PR 4:00.23 (2008)   Gold medal in 2008 Olympics
4:05.11  Irene Jelagat (KEN)  PR 4:04.59 (2008)
4:05.21  Erin Donohue (USA)+
4:05.63  Iryna Lishchynska (UKR)  PR 4:00.04 (2006)   Silver medal in 2008 Olympic Games, silver medal in 2007 World Championships, 5th in 2006 World Indoor Championships, 5th in 2003 World Indoor Championships
4:05.86  Susan Kuijken (NED)
4:05.99  Meskerem Assefa (ETH)  PR 4:03.96 (2003)
+ = Not on Worlds Team in 1,500m



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