March 2, 2018
BIRMINGHAM, England — While last night’s women’s 3000 sure looked like a 1500 final (4:04 final 1500), the women’s 1500 officially got underway tonight with three 1500 heats featuring many of the same protagonists from last night’s 3000 including four of the top five from the 3000 and all three medallists.
The women came ready to run, as according to Olympic Channel broadcasters, Genzebe Dibaba in heat #1 ran faster than anyone else ever had in a world indoor prelim (4:06.25) and then four women ran faster than her in heat #3.
When it was said and done, everything went according to form, save for one big exception, as six of the seven fastest seeds and all the three medallists from last night plus 5th placer Shelby Houlihan of the US all moved on to the final. The lone, big casualty was that the #3 seed on the year, Dawit Seyaum of Ethiopia, the 2016 silver medallist at World Indoors in the 1500, failed to move on out of the third heat when all she needed to do was run under 4:09.42 and be top 4. Seyaum, who raced sparingly in 2017 (just four times total indoors and out but did run 4:01.36) and had only raced once this year (a 4:04.38 win at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix), ended up fifth in heat #3 in 4:10.20.
Heat 1: Dibaba Cruises
This one didn’t start particularly fast, but it was fast enough (2:15.74 at 800) that once Genzebe Dibaba went to the front at 900 and started pushing the pace, she’d end up running faster than anyone else in a World Indoor heat. Laura Muir was a clear second in this one after her bronze in the 3000m final last night, and Aisha Praught continued her fine indoor campaign making the final on time.
|1||674||Genzebe DIBABA||ETH||4:06.25 Q|
|2||697||Laura MUIR||GBR||4:06.54 Q|
|3||754||Aisha PRAUGHT||JAM||4:07.51 q|
|5||636||Gabriela STAFFORD||CAN||4:09.94 PB|
800 2:15.74 800
Heat 2: Colleen Quigley survives fall right in front of her
2017 World #1 steeplechaser Beatrice Chepkoech led this one from start to finish. The modest pace (800 in 2:14.85) kept the pack together until about 450m to go when Sweden’s Meraf Bahta fell to the track just in front of Quigley. Replays showed Bahta’s legs clipping one another; it was unclear if contact with another runner caused this, but she would be put into the final. Quigley had to run around Bahta, but regained her momentum the next lap, and would close very well on the final lap to take second over Kate Van Buskirk of Canada as former NCAA star Dominique Scott faded from 2nd to 4th on the final lap. Quigley getting second was important as there were no time qualifiers from this heat.
|1||766||Beatrice CHEPKOECH||KEN||4:09.12 Q|
|2||883||Colleen QUIGLEY||USA||4:09.31 Q PB|
|3||637||Kate VAN BUSKIRK||CAN||4:09.42 PB|
|8||837||Meraf BAHTA||SWE||4:22.40 q|
|9||820||Claudia Mihaela BOBOCEA||ROU||4:24.60|
Women’s 1500 Heat 2
1300 3:38.1 at bell
Heat 3: Sifan Hassan didn’t mess around
Anita Hinriksdottir of Iceland got the ball rolling in this one (65.39, 2:12.49) to try to get as many time qualifiers as possible from this heat. She was successful as four women in this heat would run faster than Genzebe Dibaba in heat #1, who had run faster than anyone else previously in a World Indoor heat.
Sifan Hassan, after her silver last night in the 3000m, stayed near the front and took the lead at 900 as the pace increased. Dawit Seyaum made a huge move on the backstretch just before 1200m, as the racing really got underway, but it would prove to be too much too early. Winny Chebet of Kenya then took the lead from Seyaum at the bell with Hassan in position. Hassan took the lead for good on the backstretch. Shelby Houlihan was in contention this entire time, but could not get up to Hassan or Chebet but still ran a quick 4:06.21 indoor PB to make the final.
Splits heat 3
400 65.39 Iceland
1300 3:35.0 bell
|1||784||Sifan HASSAN||NED||4:05.46 Q SB|
|2||765||Winny CHEBET||KEN||4:05.81 Q PB|
|3||777||Rababe ARAFI||MAR||4:06.12 q|
|4||871||Shelby HOULIHAN||USA||4:06.21 q PB|
Quick Take analysis and post-race comments.
We can’t wait for the final.
In the middle of the 3k final when it was going slow, we thought to ourselves, “What’s the point of having a 1500 final when the 3k final basically turns into a 1500?”
A day later we are very excited about it. Dibaba vs. Hassan round I was quite compelling so a rematch is certainly worth a watch. This time we may get the answer to the question we had after the 3k of “Would Hassan have won had she not spotted Dibaba 1.7 seconds at 2k?”
Add in wild-card Beatrice Chepkoech, our #1 ranked steepler for 2017 and the second-fastest 1500 woman on the year (4:02.21), and you’ve got a very compelling final. The three heat winners today are our three potential winners for the final but Brit Laura Muir certainly should be in the mix for a medal and could steal gold if the other mistime things.
Colleen Quigley criticizes meet management, “brutal” officiating, says “they’ve forgotten that it’s all about the athletes.” (Editor’s note: We pulled this part out below and made it its own article here)
Quigley was not DQ’d today, but she knows exactly how that feels as she was DQ’d in last year’s World Championship prelims in the steeple for stepping on the line on the curve. After the race, we asked her to share her thoughts on the slew of DQs in the morning session and Quigley went off. (Unofficially there were 16 DQs on Friday).
“I was like, oh yeah, these Brits are freaking tough. I don’t know if they’re just out to get people or they just have fun DQing people, but it is brutal out there. They are just crushing people, seems like for no reason.
“Yeah, I have a lot of complaints. But it seems like we’re barely able to warm up. We’re warming up on a 30-second loop under a parking structure outside. It’s freezing cold. There’s no place for athletes to warm up. This is the first time that we were allowed to get on the track, today. And the curves are extremely steep, so I can see how people are falling on the inside, Chelimo’s stepping on the inside and…These 400 guys don’t know where to cut in because they’ve never been able to see the track before!
“It’s, like, ridiculous. I just wish it was, like, handled a little better. It seems like it’s all about media and, like, looking good, but they’ve forgotten that it’s all about the athletes. We need to warm up properly before our race and we should probably do some strides on the competition track before we race there at a World Championships. Like, just a little thought going into that would have been nice.”
Quigley raises some valid points. The lack of warmup facilities is unfortunate, though the organizers do have a bit of excuse as no one could have expected the freak snowstorm that has left the surrounding roads and canal paths unrunnable.
The biggest issue, however, is the track itself, and the lack of practice time on it. The banks on the track are steep, and the athletes have only been able to practice on flat tracks during practice sessions. To go from that to trying to stay in a narrow lane around steep turns with very few — sometimes none — practice strides is tough.
As for her race, Quigley left herself some work to do but closed well in the home straight to nab an auto spot to the final.
Shelby Houlihan makes 1500m final day after running 3000
Aisha Praught-Leet makes final:
Dom Scott just misses final: