Henrik Ingebrigtsen and Chris O’Hare Win Two 1500 Heats At Europeans To Advance To Final

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

ZÜRICH (15-Aug) — Reigning European 1500m champion, Henrik Ingebrigtsen of Norway, led all qualifiers in the first round of the men’s 1500m here this morning at the 21st European Championships in Athletics at Stadion Letzigrund.  Competing in the first of two heats, the 23 year-old got out quickly, controlled the pace, and was able to relax a little before crossing the finish line in 3:39.32, just ahead of a fast-closing Charlie Grice of Great Britain.

“I felt strong during the race,” Ingebrigtsen told Race Results Weekly.  “I took some precautions during the race and I went off to the front to avoid some of the positioning and the elbows of the other guys.  I got the answers I wanted and I’m looking forward to the final on Sunday.”

1500 Results
Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result
1 Henrik INGEBRIGTSEN NOR 91 03:39.32Q
2 Charlie GRICE GBR 93 03:39.41Q
3 Mahiedine MEKHISSI BENABBAD FRA 85 03:39.43Q
4 Tarik MOUKRIME BEL 92 03:39.50Q
5 Stanislav MASLOV UKR 89 03:39.63q
6 Jakub HOLUŠA CZE 88 03:39.64q
7 Ciaran O’LIONAIRD IRL 88 03:39.79
8 Florian ORTH GER 89 03:39.99
9 Pieter-Jan HANNES BEL 92 03:40.34
10 Goran NAVA SRB 81 03:41.43
11 Emanuel ROLIM POR 93 03:42.22
12 Mohad ABDIKADAR ITA 93 03:46.07
13 Adel MECHAL ESP 90 03:47.60
14 John TRAVERS IRL 91 03:49.73
15 Amine KHADIRI CYP 88 03:50.15
16 Kelvin GOMEZ GIB 92 04:05.71
Heat 2
Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result
1 Chris O’HARE GBR 90 03:39.24Q
2 Homiyu TESFAYE GER 93 03:39.64Q
3 Timo BENITZ GER 91 03:39.83Q
4 Paul ROBINSON IRL 91 03:39.83Q
5 Ilham Tanui ÖZBILEN TUR 90 03:40.09
6 Florian CARVALHO FRA 89 03:40.39
7 Manuel OLMEDO ESP 83 03:40.48
8 Filip INGEBRIGTSEN NOR 93 03:41.06
9 Isaac KIMELI BEL 94 03:41.96
10 Andreas BUENO DEN 88 03:42.06
11 Jan HOCHSTRASSER SUI 88 03:43.89
12 Dmitrijs JURKEVIČS LAT 87 03:45.92
13 Jonas LEANDERSSON SWE 91 03:49.64
14 Soufiane EL KABBOURI ITA 93 04:02.76q
15 David BUSTOS ESP 90 04:21.39q
Andreas VOJTA AUT 89 DQ
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Finishing third with a strong final 50-meter sprint was France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, who had finished first in the men’s steeplechase last night, but was disqualified for removing his uniform top about 100 meters from the finish line.  He spoke briefly to the French press, and L’Equipe reporter Nicolas Herbelot offered this translation:

“I was happy and sad at the same time,” he said of last night’s race.  “I wanted to make history.  Last night I didn’t sleep.  I knew I had to come back today.”  He continued: “I hope in the final I will show everyone I am the big champion.”

Also advancing on time was reigning Irish 1500m champion Ciaran O’Lionaird who is still rebuilding after Achilles surgery.  He was delighted –and relieved– to have made the final; he had to wait for the results of the second heat to know for sure.

“It’s nerve-wracking,” said O’Lionaird after watching the second heat from the mixed zone under the stadium.  “It’s not the way I would have liked it.”  He added: “Ten months off surgery and I’m back in the European final.  I couldn’t be happier.”

Britain’s Chris O’Hare, the former NCAA star for the University of Tulsa, won the second heat with a powerful sprint over the last 200m.  O’Hare ignored the aggressive first 400 meters by Ilham Tanui Özbilen of Turkey (56.7), and waited for the final lap to make his statement.  He clocked 3:39.24 ahead of Germany’s Homiyu Tesfaye –a gold medal favorite along with Ingebrigtsen– and his German teammate Timo Benitz.

“Everybody knows Özbilen likes to push it,” O’Hare told reporters.  “Tesfaye likes to push it from a long way out.  I was confident it was going to be quick, so I sat in the back… and came in the end to pick up the last couple.”

Women’s Steeple

In the first round of the women’s steeplechase, athletes overcame cold (14 Ceslsius -57 Fahreinheit)) and wet conditions to advance to the final.  The first of two heats was the fastest, won by Sviatlana Kudzelich of Belarus in 9:46.89.  She led a small group of three, including Russia’s Natalya Vlasova and Germany’s Gesa Krause, who finished close behind her, also qualifying for the final.

“My goal was to qualify in the top-5 for the finals, directly,” Krause said in English.  “So I’m really happy it worked out, and I felt really good.”

Key athletes who also advanced included Bulgaria’s Silvia Danekova, who won the second heat in 9:51.67 ahead of Krause’s German teammate Antje Möldner-Schmidt (9:52.02); Sweden’s Charlotta Fougberg (9:52.04), the Swedish national record-holder, and Latvia’s Polina Jelizarova (9:52.58), who had pushed the pace through the entire race and had faded in the final sprint.

Also advancing was the sentimental favorite, Fabienne Schlumpf of Switzerland.  Spurred on by the partisan crowd,  she sprinted hard to claim the fifth position in the first heat, the last automatic qualifying spot.  She was overwhelmed by the support, she said.

“The feeling was great,” Schlumpf told Race Results Weekly.  “This feeling once in your life and I wanted to enjoy it.  It was great to run here.”

Women’s 3000mSC  Results
Heat 1
Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result
1 Sviatlana KUDZELICH BLR 87 09:46.89Q
2 Natalya VLASOVA RUS 88 09:47.31Q
3 Gesa Felicitas KRAUSE GER 92 09:47.36Q
4 Sandra ERIKSSON FIN 89 09:50.00Q
5 Fabienne SCHLUMPF SUI 90 09:51.45Q
6 Maruša MIŠMAŠ SLO 94 09:51.51q
7 Özlem KAYA TUR 90 09:56.49q
8 Cristina CASANDRA ROU 77 10:00.48q
9 Jekaterina PATJUK EST 83 10:03.60
10 Ingeborg LØVNES NOR 92 10:18.11
María Teresa URBINA ESP 85 DNF
Heat 2
Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result
1 Silvia DANEKOVA BUL 83 09:51.67Q
2 Antje MÖLDNER-SCHMIDT GER 84 09:52.02Q
3 Charlotta FOUGBERG SWE 85 09:52.04Q
4 Polina JELIZAROVA LAT 89 09:52.58Q
5 Diana MARTÍN ESP 81 09:52.63Q
6 Katarzyna KOWALSKA POL 85 09:52.66q
7 Johanna RISKU-LEHTINEN FIN 79 09:53.86q
8 Valeria ROFFINO ITA 90 10:07.58
9 Jana SUSSMANN GER 90 10:07.99
10 Yekaterina SOKOLENKO RUS 92 10:08.76
11 Astrid LEUTERT SUI 87 10:15.29