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Women's Steeplechase Prelims: Jenny Barringer Survives a Scare
by: LetsRun.com
August 15, 2009
Berlin, Germany

They all start from scratch in Monday's steeplechase final. That's the good news for America's Jenny Barringer. The bad news is that the American star who set NCAA records at 1500, 3k, and the 5k this year in addition to going sub 4 in the 1500 had to use a last second dash (and a couple of competitors stopping before the line) to gain an automatic qualifying spot for the final.

Barringer Causes a Lot of Suspense in Heat 2
After the world record holder Gulnara Galkina put on an exhibition in heat 1 (recap below), Jenny Barringer was up in heat 2. Barringer blasted the first 50 meters of the race opening up a lead. Coming off the turn, she made the pace more reasonable and the pack filled in behind her.

The first 2 laps were run in 2:28 and the 1000m was in 3:09.

Barringer was still leading 5 laps in as 7 women were in contention for the 4 automatic qualifying spots. Just after 5 laps at 2k (6:20.69), Russian Yuliya Zarudneva took over the lead.

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day One

With 2 to go the clock showed 7:01. The pace did not quicken the next lap and at the bell (8:17) 6 were in contention. Coming off the water jump Barringer was in the back of the group and the group was not coming back to her. Coming down the final straight even with 50 meters to go it seemed almost certain Barringer was not going to be in the top 4 as Zarudneva, Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia, Katarzyna Kowalska of Poland, and Ruth Nyangau of Kenya (6th at last year's Olympics) were comfortably in front of her. Barringer had Sara Moreira of Portugal beat for fifth but there were only four automatic spots.

Barringer however showed a late burst of speed (she did run sub 4:00 for 1500 this year) and it was apparent that Kowalska of Poland and Nyangau of Kenya thought they had made the final. Barringer was closing fast. Kowalska looked over her shoulder with about 10 meters to go and saw Barringer and tried to change gears again but it was too late. Barringer nipped her just before the line (beating her by .12). Nyangau had been even more in front but she did not look over her shoulder until it was too late and Barringer and Kowalska both passed her. Fortunately for Nyangau she would be the final time qualifier for the final. (Moreira the 6th place finisher in Barringer's heat would be the first athlete not to make the final in time, so with perfect hindsight, Jenny only needed to pass her to make the final).

Barringer Talks About Her Race
Barringer is one of the most poised athletes in the interview room and she admitted things did not go as planned early Saturday morning. However, she said she was confident she could make the top four with 100 meters to go. If she really was confident she probably was the only person in the stadium who was. From our untrained eye she wouldn't have been in the top four unless Kowalska and Nyangau quit before the line.

Jenny Barringer Post-Race Comments

In the post-race interview to the right, Barringer discusses her race, her decision not to run a steeple since the USATF meet (she ran a 5k and an 800), and running at the world level where things are much more aggressive.

She said, "The women are really aggressive here and it's not like racing my other races this year...They all want to be able to see the barrier. It got kind of rowdy up front. You've got to switch the game plan. I got a little nervous with 2 laps to go. I was thinking, 'I have to be top 4.'"

She added, "I knew I was sixth and six go on time (the top 4 in each heat and next 3 times qualified for the final) and I was pretty confident I could catch the front group if I had a good final water barrier."

Barringer kept her poise the final stretch and was rewarded with the spot in the final. She said, "I think that's what separates the people who make it here and those who don't - the ability to be calm when the race changes. I don't think I'll watch (a video of) the race 'till after the final."

Heats 1 and 2: Olympic Champ Galkina Waltzes, World Champ Yekaterina Volkova Falters

Heat 1 was the Gulnara Galkina show. Galkina the reigning Olympic champion, world record holder and only woman to have gone under the magical 9:00 barrier showed why she is the favorite in Monday's final.

After a couple of laps with the pack, Galkina blasted to the front and never looked back. The result was a comfortable 9:17.67 easy qualifying win. Germany's Antje Moldner got the home fans up on their feet as she came strong out of the last water pit to run a 9:21.73 pr and make the final. Sogia Assefa of Ethiopia and Milcah Cheywa of Kenya got the last 2 automatic qualifying spots.

The US's Lindsay Anderson ran 9:46 for 11th.

In heat 3, the big news was that reigning world champ Yekaterina Volkova did not advance. She was well off the pace in 7th in 9:43.52. 2009 World leader Marta Dominguez of Spain ran a poised race looking over her shoulder to save her energy for Monday's final as Ethiopia's Zemzem Ahmed won the heat, and Kenya's Gladys Kipkemoni and France's Sophie Duarte got the other qualifying spots.

Bridget Franek On Her First Worlds (1:01)

Penn State's Bridget Franek ran 9:50.02 for 12th and we have an interview with her on her worlds experience to the right.

Monday's Final: Wide Open After Galkina

Barringer can take solace that after Galkina the next four finishers from the Olympics are not in Sunday's final. As stated above the 2007 World champ, the Beijing silver medallist, and the #2 performer all-time, Yekaterina Volkova was in heat 3 and well off the pace finishing 7th. Beijing bronze medallist Eunice Jepkorir of Kenya has not run a track race all year.

Only 2 women in the final Galkina and Dominguez have broken 9:10 for the steeple and 6 have broken 9:20 (Barringer's best is 9:22.26 from last year). Barringer said of the final her plan is to "get out there and plan on running hard from the gun and see what place that puts me."

Results below: Full results here

Barringer's Heat 2:

1 918 Habiba Ghribi TUN 9:26.40 Q
2 836 Yuliya Zarudneva RUS 9:26.64 Q
3 968 Jennifer Barringer USA 9:26.81 Q
4 714 Katarzyna Kowalska POL 9:26.93 Q (PB)
5 602 Ruth Bisibori Nyangau KEN 9:27.04 q
6 740 Sara Moreira POR 9:28.64 (PB)
7 333 Korahubsh Itaa ETH 9:33.67
8 887 Ulrika Johansson SWE 9:38.88 (PB)
9 382 Helen Clitheroe GBR 9:41.71
10 308 Diana Martín ESP 9:42.39 (PB)
11 372 Élodie Olivarès FRA 9:43.83
12 177 Sabine Heitling BRA 9:50.96
13 493 Roisin McGettigan IRL 9:59.10
14 683 Silje Fjørtoft NOR 10:01.04

Heat 1:

1 789 Gulnara Galkina RUS 9:17.67 Q
2 445 Antje Möldner GER 9:21.73 Q (NR)
3 322 Sofia Assefa ETH 9:22.63 Q
4 584 Milcah Chemos Cheywa KEN 9:23.87 Q
5 300 Eva Arias ESP 9:25.14 q (PB)
6 732 Jessica Augusto POR 9:26.64 q (SB)
7 751 Ancuta Bobocel ROU 9:34.39 (SB)
8 465 Iríni Kokkinaríou GRE 9:35.61 (SB)
9 828 Yelena Sidorchenkova RUS 9:37.16
10 556 Minori Hayakari JPN 9:39.28 (SB)
11 967 Lindsey Anderson USA 9:46.03
12 113 Donna MacFarlane AUS 9:52.46 (SB)
13 870 Durka Mana SUD 9:52.90
14 514 Elena Romagnolo ITA 9:56.61


1 320 Zemzem Ahmed ETH 9:29.36 Q (SB)
2 593 Gladys Jerotich Kipkemoi KEN 9:29.36 Q
3 352 Sophie Duarte FRA 9:34.08 Q
4 304 Marta Domínguez ESP 9:34.78 Q
5 635 Hanane Ouhaddou MAR 9:35.78
6 639 Oxana Juravel MDA 9:36.63 (NR)
7 832 Ekaterina Volkova RUS 9:43.52
8 484 Lívia Tóth HUN 9:45.14
9 339 Sandra Eriksson FIN 9:46.62 (PB)
10 684 Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal NOR 9:48.47
11 753 Cristina Casandra ROU 9:49.88
12 988 Bridget Franek USA 9:50.02
13 923 Asli Cakir TUR 10:06.64


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