Women's 5000m Semis: Molly Huddle Goes Home, Meseret Defar and Linet Masai Both Run

By LetsRun.com
August 30, 2011
Daegu, South Korea

With 15 of the 22 women who ran the 5000m semi-finals making the 5000 final, the semis served more as a fitness test than anything else.

The big casualty, American record holder Molly Huddle, was not a surprise as she has been struggling with injuries this summer.

Recaps of the semis with reaction from some of the leading contenders and Americans below.

Heat 1: Meseret Defar Is Back After Dropping Out of 10,000m Final With Stomach Problem

The news of note in this heat was Olympic and World 5000m champion Meseret Defar running this heat and looking good after dropping out of the 10,000m final on Saturday night.

Afterwards, Defar told LetsRun.com that she had a stomach problem in the 10,000m final but feels good now and is ready to go for the final. She looked great here even kicking hard the final lap for no reason except pride and to send a message to her competitors.

Hitomi Niiya of Japan did the early pacing duties running the first 1600 in 4:56. Rusian Yelena Zadorozhnaya was leading at 3200 9:57 as the field for all but two was together until the racing started the final 2 laps. With 1000m to go, American Amy Hastings who has had a breakout year in 2011 (2:27:03 marathon, 15:14 5k pr), went to the front and would lead for a lap until the real racing started with about 600 to go.

On the  final lap, the people you would expect,  Defar, 2009 Silver Medallist Sylvia Kibet, 3 time World Junior Champ Mercy Cherono, 14:28 Ethiopian Sentayehu Ejigu and former 3:59 1500m runner Yelena Zadorozhnaya separated themselves from the field. With five automatic spots for the final, there was no reason for them to race the last lapm but the African battled it out the final lap and straightaway with Defar flying home for the "win" in 15:19.46

Amy Hastings on Making the Final

After the first group, Hastings would be the next finisher in 15:31.09 and make the final on time. Afterwards, she said (interview on right) she said she should not have gone to the front unless she was going to increase the pace because she could not respond like she wanted to when the kicking started. Nonetheless, she made her first final.

1 343 Meseret Defar ETH 15:19.46 Q
2 570 Mercy Cherono KEN 15:20.01 Q
3 576 Sylvia Jebiwott Kibet KEN 15:20.08 Q
4 345 Sentayehu Ejigu ETH 15:20.13 Q
5 790 Yelena Zadorozhnaya RUS 15:23.90 Q
6 948 Amy Hastings USA 15:29.49 q
7 548 Hitomi Niiya JPN 15:31.09 q
8 383 Helen Clitheroe GBR 15:37.73 q
9 553 Kayo Sugihara JPN 15:41.78 (SB)
10 871 Alia Saeed Mohammed UAE 16:10.37
11 137 Pauline Niyongere BDI 17:23.56 (SB)
813 Sabina Fischer SUI DNS

Molly Huddle on Her First Worlds

Heat 2: Linet Masai Starts, Molly Huddle Goes Out and Lauren Fleshman Shakes Things Up

The biggest news in Heat 2 was that 2011 10,000m bronze medallist Linet Masai started the race. Eight hours before race time Masai was not on the start lists, but she toed the line trying to double and keep the Kenyan women's medal streak alive (the Kenyan women have won all the medals in the two distance events so far).

Russia's Elizaveta Grechishnikova did all the leading until the racing started the final kilometer (the pace was modest 10.07 at 3200). American record holder Molly Huddle was the first to crack when the pace picked up and she'd come home in second to last, 15:42.00. Huddle's lack of fitness was not a huge surprise as she has missed a lot of time recently with a foot injury (nice pre-race profile here). Afterwards in the interview to the right, Huddle said she's been having "nightmares" about this race all week and knew she could "bomb", but realized how hard it is to get here and wanted to race to get experience. Despite being the American record holder, this was her first World Track Championships.

Things really got going the last lap. Former NCAA star Lauren Fleshman, who got a convincing win in London in her last race to qualify for the World Championships, was boxed in with 600 to go, but she freed herself on the last lap and with 200m to go she charged hard to the front.  Her move forced the African born runners to respond (Genzebe Dibaba (sister of World record holder Tirunesh Dibaba), Asian champ Tejitu Daba (formerly of Ethiopia), Linet Masai, and the women to beat, Sunday's 10,000m champion and the 2011 5,000m World leader Vivian Cheruiyot).

Dibaba would get the win over Daba. Fleshman would finish in fourth with an automatic spot in the final as her fine form continued.

Afterwards in the interview below, Fleshman said she found herself boxed in with 600m and was surprised all the Kenyans and Ethiopians were talking with one another. Fleshman had to get out of the box and with 200m to go went hard to the front.  A smiling Vivian Cheruiyot said she and her teammates will work together in the final. After her 14:20.87 in Stockholm she does not fear anyone.

Lauren Fleshman on Making the Final And Taking the Lead

Vivian Cheruiyot Fears No One



1 344 Genzebe Dibaba ETH 15:33.06 Q
2 181 Tejitu Daba BRN 15:33.67 Q
3 583 Linet Chepkwemoi Masai KEN 15:33.99 Q
4 937 Lauren Fleshman USA 15:34.04 Q
5 573 Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot KEN 15:34.80 Q
6 838 Zakia Mrisho TAN 15:35.37 q (SB)
7 756 Elizaveta Grechishnikova RUS 15:35.64 q
8 544 Megumi Kinukawa JPN 15:38.23
9 857 Alemitu Bekele TUR 15:38.25
10 950 Molly Huddle USA 15:42.00
11 590 Viktoriia Poliudina KGZ 16:32.68 (SB)



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