2013 Doha Women’s 1500: Abeba Aregawi Wins As Three Women Run 3:57.54 or Better

Kenya’s 19-year old Faith Kipyegon arrives as new star with 3:56.98 national record; American Gabriele Anderson gets the ‘A’

by LetsRun.com
Mary 10, 2013

If the opening race of the year is any indication, this season might be one for the ages in the women’s 1,500.

Running in her first outdoor race for her new country of Sweden, Abeba Aregawi ran a stellar 3:56.60 to win the season opener in Doha in a race that was incredibly fast up front. With a late surge, Kenya’s 2012 world junior 1,500 champ Faith Kipyegon, just 19 years of age, finished a surprising second in a massive new personal best and Kenyan new national record of 3:56.98 as Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba who had the lead until the final 150 finished third in a new pb of 3:57.54.

Top 3 women run fast

Top 3 women run fast

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The lone American in the field, Olympic Trials 4th placer Gabriele Anderson, ran at the back of the field throughout and only beat 3 of the 13 finishers in the race. However, she was a very happy 10th place finisher as she got the Moscow World Championship ‘A’ standard of 4:05.50 out of the way by running 4:05.41.

After the race, Andeson tweeted, “Yay! Now I can be a ‘racer’ instead of a ‘standard-chaser’! 🙂 That was a HOT race. Big thanks to @dldoha for having me.”

The Race
The lead rabbit in this race, Slovakia’s Sonja Roman, was pretty awful (way too fast) but the second rabbit Lydia Wafula of Kenya was amazing. She took the leaders through 800 in 2:06.70 and stayed in front through 1k. When Waful dropped, Dibaba had the lead and given the fast pace, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the top three finishers were well clear of everyone else in the field.

Dibaba would maintain her lead until the final turn. On the final turn, Aregawi tried to come by but Dibaba dug deep and tried to hold her off. However, by the end of the turn, Aregawi was in front and in control. Her ultimate victory was never challenged.

Hanging in third the whole time was Kenya’s national junior record holder Kipyegon. Kipyegon, who had run 4:03.82 last year in Shanghai, surprisingly went by Dibaba on the homestretch and grabbed second in a massive new pb of 3:56.98 – a mark which is both a new Kenyan national record (old record was 3:57.41 for Jackline Maranga in 1998) and new national junior record as Kipyegon won’t turn 20 until January 10th.
Quick takes and results below.

Faith Kipyegon winning a World title wearing shoes in Poland earlier this year. More 2013 World XC Photos

Quick Take (QT) #1: Given the fact that her pb is 3:56.54 and that she ran a near world record of 3:58.40 indoors this year, the 3:56.60 for Aregawi today wasn’t a big shock. The big shock came from Kipyegon.

Yes, she is very credentialed as in addition to her world junior 1500 title last year she also did win the world junior xc title in March in Poland. That title was actually a defense of her 2011 world junior crown from Spain which she won while running barefoot. She also won a World Youth title at 1,500 in 2011. So one World Youth,  three World Junior crowns and an Olympic appearance by the age of 19 (eliminated in first round last year). Certainly very impressive, but you still don’t make one expect you to run a 6.84 second pb.

QT#2: It’s hard not to feel a little bit bad for Dibaba. She must be thinking, “I run 3:57.54 pb (prevoius pb of 3:57.77) in my season opener and only finish third. Are you kidding?”

Man people don’t appreciate how good a 3:57.54 is because the women’s 1,500 is an event so tainted by drugs over the years. So let us try to put in perspective for you. Prior to tonight, in the last ten years, only two women who weren’t eventually busted for drugs have run faster than 3:57.54 – Maryam Jamal (3:56.18) and Aregawi (3:56.54) – and yet two did it tonight in the season opener in Doha.

Take a look at the all-time 1,500 list for women. It’s a list of drug cheat after drug cheat from Mary Slaney in the 1990s, to Mariem Alaoui Selsouli last year, and tons of cheats that never got caught in the 1980s. It’s a testament to the power of drugs that Dibaba’s 3:57.54 technically only makes her the 54th fastest women in history. LOL.

QT #3: For the record, Suzy Favor Hamilton‘s pr is 3:57.40. She was only the third person we could find faster than Dibaba not implicated in a doping scandal when we moved our search back to 2000.

QT #4: Aregawi was roughly 1:51 at 700 so she ran about 2:05 for her last 800 (64 then 61).

QT #5:  Anderson ran much of the race third to last on the rail. We had her unofficially at 1:53 hgh/1:54 flat at 700 so that would mean her last 800 was about 2:11. For a pre-race article on Anerson see: American Gabriele Anderson Looking to Step Up Her Game With Diamond League 1,500 Debut in Doha.

QT #6: Mary Cain fans are probably happy that Anderson ran so well as Cain Raced Anderson at Drake with Anderson beating Cain by .45.

QT #7: Since she ran last year for Ethiopia in the Olympics, we were worried that Aregawi would not be eligible for this year’s world champs in Moscow. We reached out to the IAAF and they told us the Aregawi will be able to run for Sweden without having to sit out any time as she was “a permanent resident in Sweden for 3 years” prior to her citizenship change and thus her case falls under the following rule:

Eligibility to represent a Member
The amended Rule came into force as from 12 March 2012.
4. An athlete who has represented a Member in an International Competition under
Rules 1.1(a), (b) (c), (f) or (g) shall be eligible to represent another Member in an
International Competition under Rules 1.1(a), (b), (c), (f) or (g) (with immediate effect
unless otherwise stated) in the following circumstances only:
(ii) the period shall be cancelled if the athlete has completed three continuous
years of Residence in the Country (or Territory) of his new membership
immediately preceding the International Competition in question;

1 AREGAWI Abeba SWE 03:56.60 WL,MR
2 KIPYEGON Faith Chepngetich KEN 03:56.98 NR
3 DIBABA Genzebe ETH 03:57.54 PB
4 KIBIWOT Viola Jelagat KEN 04:00.76
5 SUM Eunice Jepkoech KEN 04:02.05 PB
6 KURIA Mary KEN 04:03.56
7 HILALI Siham MAR 04:03.92
8 DESALEGN Betlhem UAE 04:05.13 NR
9 ARAFI Rababe MAR 04:05.22 PB
10 ANDERSON Gabriele USA 04:05.41 SB
11 JEPKOSGEI Janeth KEN 04:12.61
12 MACÍAS Isabel ESP 04:13.41
13 SEYAUM Dawit ETH 04:14.95 PB
Intermediate times:
400m Roman, Sonja (SLO) 01:02.35
800m Wafula, Lydia (KEN) 02:06.70
1200m Dibaba, Genzebe (ETH) 03:10.98

More LRC Coverage of Doha :
*Men’s 800: Men’s 800: David Rudisha Has To Work For It But He Opens 2013 Season With World Leading 800 Win
*Men’s 1500: Asbel Kiprop Is Back – Kenyan Dominates 2013 Diamond League Opener in Doha
*Men’s 3000: Hagos Gebrhiwet Makes A Statement With Impressive 3000 Win – 18-Year Old Phenom Seems To Be The Man To Beat in 2013
*Women’s 1500: Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi Wins As Three Women Run 3:57.54 or Better!!!
*Women’s Steeple: Lydiah Chepkurui pulls off a big upset