March 8, 2014
Sopot, Poland – Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi, the heavy, heavy favorite, did what was expected in the 1,500m final at the 2014 World Indoor Track and Field Championships. She went out and dominated the field and won in 4:00.61 – an amazing 6.51 seconds ahead of second place. The previous largest margin of victory in the women’s 1,500 was 2.00 seconds.
Teenager Axumawit Embaye of Ethiopia took the silver in 4:07.12 with Nicole Sifuentes of Canada getting the bronze in a new Canadian national record of 4:07.61 after a DQ of Morocco’s Rababe Arafi who initially was third in 4:07.53.
The USA’s Heather Kampf led the first lap and then Canada’s Nicole Sifuentes took over through a modest 67.05 first quarter.
Aregawi then decided she had enough and 500m into the race she took the lead. A 31.4 next lap gapped the field and a 30.9 after that put her all alone up front. Barring a catastrophe the race for gold was over.
The race for the lesser medals was in full force with the rest of the field in contention, except for Heather Kampf, who fell 550m into the race and Russia’s Svetlana Karamasheva who had dropped off the back of the main pack.
There wasn’t much drama in this one until the final lap as Aregawi just extended her lead. The only question remaining for her was could she break 4:00 or Gelete Burka’s meet record of 3:59.75. Aregawi came up short crossing in 4:00.61.
The battle for silver and bronze was in full-force the final lap with 5 runners in contention for two medals. Axumawit Embaye of Ethiopia led the group at the bell with Siham Hilali of Morocco right on her heels with Treniere Moser of the USA in 4th. Embaye and Hilali opened a slight gap on Moser and the rest of the field with 100m to go (one final turn). The last 100m, Embaye was clearly best and on the final straight Hilali started to fade. Rababe Arafi of Morocco and Nicole Sifuentes of Canada were closing fast and both passed Hilali just before the line with Arafi saving the most ground passing Hilali on the inside and getting the bronze. Sifuentes settled for fourth. Hilali faded to 5th and Moser beat Gega for 6th, with Karamesheva and Kampf rounding out the field.
After the race Aragi and Kampf were disqualified for lane violations and that promoted Nicole Sifuentes into the bronze.
Hilali also was disqualified for obstruction. Hilali was DQd for obstruction and then reinstated on appeal. Revised and original results below.
Quick Take #1: Absolute Total Domination
Aregawi had the potential to dominate, but talking about it and doing it are different things. She had run 7.43 seconds faster than anyone else in the field this year coming in and finished 6.51 seconds ahead of everyone today. She didn’t mess around and ended this race before it was 2/3 of the way done.
QT #2: Moser Comes Up Short
This was Treniere Moser’s chance to get a world championship medal and she came up short. There isn’t any way to sugar coat the missed opportunity. At 32, it’s unlikely to think Moser’s chances for medals will get any easier in the future.
After the first round yesterday Moser was extremely confident and was talking about not just medaling, but about trying to run with Aregawi if she could. She said, “My coaches told me I have one of the best kicks in the world and I have to just believe in it. … I’m not intimidated by [Aregawi]. I’m going to get as close as I can and depend on my kick and maybe it will be gold. I don’t know but I’m shooting for a medal.”
None of that big talk showed up today as Moser didn’t try to run with Aregawi and her kick was lacking at the end.
When Aregawi surged to the lead and started pulling away from the pack Moser didn’t even flinch or react at all to go with her. She sat back in the pack and clearly had conceded to just race for second. Then it was time to call on “one of the best kicks in the world” she lost to four women, three of whom have a PR much slower than hers. She talked a big game and then didn’t deliver.
The two people who crossed the line in second and third have 1500 pbs of just 4:05 – Moser ran 4:02 last summer. Sifuentes, who ended up with bronze, has a 4:04 pb.
When asked about the race afterwards, Moser said, “The plan was to hold back a little bit and then kick.” She said she was in good position, but the race “was just bumpy” and said, “I was just getting thrown around and trying to get my steps back and it was hard to recover two or three times. The last quarter I was a little drained and tried to hang tough.”
QT #3: Heath Kampf Fall
Heather Kampf’s claim to fame is falling in the Big 10 600m race and getting up and coming back to win. Falling at the global level, pretty much means your race is over. Kampf has a long stride, so the chances of trouble indoors are greater for her. Unfortunate.
Afterwards Kampf was clearly crushed by what happened and teared up a bit when she told us, “It does feel like a robbed opportunity, but I think that through even every hardship there’s something to be learned from it. And it’s not necessarily something to be learned about track and field, but just about life.”
QT #4: Nicole Sifuentes Ran a Long Way
Canada’s Nicole Sifuentes was battling wide on the final lap and ran much farther than Rababe Arafi who finished .08 ahead
of her for bronze (Sifuentes got the bronze on a DQ)
Long after the press conference with the original top-3 finishers was held, we got the chance to talk to Sifuentes about her promotion from 4th to the bronze medal.
Talking about the finish she said, “Kicking down the homestretch I realized that I was near to bronze and I kind of lunged, but I didn’t get bronze. At that point I was 4th. And I couldn’t have been happier, I ran as well as I could have. I ran really as hard as I could today and I was very proud how I did. And now I just found out I was promoted to bronze and I’m very excited. … it’s icing on the cake, but I was already so proud of how I ran. I couldn’t have done any better today and that put me in a position to be 4th which now I’ve been promoted to bronze so I’m thrilled.”
Carmen Douma Houssa had the old Canadian NR of 4:08.18.
QT #5: The Medal Ceremony and Press Conference That Shouldn’t Have Been
The women’s 1500 medal ceremony was held 20-minutes after the race finished. The press conference was held a full 40-minutes after. It is absolutely inexcusable that they held these events when there was a possible DQ in the mix for one of the medal winners. Talking to Sifuentes in the interview above, it seems like it wasn’t that long after the race that she was told there might be a DQ. So until the results were absolutely final, the organizers should have held-off on the medal ceremony and press conference.
They had a medal ceremony for Morocco’s Rababe Arafi, had her go to the press conference and answer questions and then take her medal away? That just can’t happen. If this happened to a big start like say Mary Cain, the outrage that existed after 2014 USA would seem like child’s play as it would be an international story.
QT #6: Aregawi Declines To Talk About Her Sham Marriage
In our “insider’s account” article from Day 1, we talked about how it came out that Aregawi had a sham marriage to become a Swedish citizen and was now divorced. We asked her about it and if the controversy had been a distraction, but she declined saying through a translator, “I don’t want to talk about my private life here”.
|DOWNLOAD RESULT PDF|
|Heather KAMPF||USA||DQ R163.3(b)|
|Rababe ARAFI||MAR||DQ R163.3(b)|
Revised Results with 3 DQs (Hilali out for obstruction, reversed on appeal)
|Rababe ARAFI||MAR||DQ R163.3(b)|
|Siham HILALI||MAR||DQ R163.2(b)|
|Heather KAMPF||USA||DQ R163.3(b)|
How they Crossed the Finish Line: