The new World Record holder from the US, Regina Jacobs, posted the fastest qualifying time in the final heat with 4:09.07. The 39-year-old American controlled the race from the gun, and challenged the others to pass her on the final lap, which they were unable to do.
Other qualifiers behind Jacobs were Elena Iagar of Romania (4:09.34), defending champion Hasna Benhassi of Morocco (4:09.37), and Sydney finalist Kutre Dulecha frrom Ethiopia (4:09.65).
Russia advanced both of its entrants: Yekaterina Rozenberg at 4:10.28 had the same time as heat winner Iryna Lishchynska of Ukraine, while Natalya Gorelova ran slightly faster with 4:10.17, but had to qualify on time behind Alesya Turova of Belarus (4:09.93).
Kelly Holmes (GBR), after having spent most of the indoor season concentrated on the 800 and 1000 distance, looked quite the experienced runner. Running well back in the pack for the first two laps, the two-time Commonwealth champion slowly moved up to the front group, with her try for a heat win falling only marginally short with 4:09.99 behind Turova.