16 JUL 2004 General News The two semi

Action highlights from Grosseto

Nicolene Van Rooyen of South Africa during the second Women's 1500m Semi-Final (Getty Images)Nicolene Van Rooyen of South Africa during the second Women's 1500m Semi-Final (Getty Images) © Copyright

Grossetofinals of the 1500m saw the favourites advance, with the second heat offering a better spectacle, mainly thanks to Germany’s Stephanie Thieke, who decided to make sure of her own qualification to the final with a fast time.

After a slow opening lap, reached in 1:08.17 by a tightly bunched pack led by Sarah Bowman (USA), the tall German began to stretch out the field, tracked by the Ukrainian Nelya Neporadna and Nicolene Van Rooyen of South Africa, going through 800m in 2:19.97.

With 500m left, Van Rooyen sprinted into the lead, hitting the bell in 3:12.98, but on the last lap, she was overtaken by Neporadna, who came home first in 4:16.54. Close behind her was the Algerian Chahrazad Cheboub, who set a new national junior record of 4:16.97.

Van Rooyen set a personal best in third with 4:17.83, as did the fast finishing Pole Marta Wojtkunska to claim the last automatic qualifying place in 4:17.87. Thieke hung on to finish fifth, and was rewarded with a new personal best of 4:18.42 to advance as a fastest loser.

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