Running in relatively coolby Beijing standards, anyway – and misty conditions, Maryam Jamal and Iryna Lischynska, the Osaka World Championships gold and bronze medallists, breezed through the semi-finals to set up a classic rematch in Saturday (23) evening’s final.
The 23-year-old Ethiopian-born Bahraini controlled the race from the outset, running near the front for the first two laps. Ukraine’s Anna Mischenko led the field for the opening two laps (1:07.96/2:13.98), before Jamal took command at the bell, and was never headed en route to a 4:05.14 victory.
Australian Sarah Jamieson, running at the front through 1200m, began to fade badly heading off the final turn, with Spaniard Natalia Rodriguez taking full advantage. Rodriquez powered down the stretch to finish second, smiling and clapping as she crossed the line, second in 4:05.30 with Moroccan Siham Hilali third (4:05.36), to also qualify by right. Mischenko held on to finish fourth with a career best 4:05.61, to move on by time.
World junior champion Stephanie Twell of Great Britain, who made a brief move to join the leaders just beyond the midway point, faded later to finish sixth (4:06.68).
Four years ago in Athens Lischynska didn’t move on from the opening round, but tonight she certainly carried herself as one who belonged in an Olympic final.
African champion Gelete Burka, Moroccan Btisamm Lakhouad and Lischynska led a tight pack through a sluggish first lap (1:11.41), with Lischynska taking command at 800m, when the pace slowed even further (2:24.93) in heat 2.
Kenyan Viola Kibiwott took the lead at the bell but none would make a break heading in the final turn, ensuring a scrappy finish for the three automatic spots. With Lischynska (4:13.60) in control, Spaniard Iris Fuentes-Pila closed well off the final turn to finish second (4:41.34) with Lakhouad taking the final ticket to the final in 4:14.66. The major casualty of the round was Burka, who simply had nothing left down the home straight, finishing a distant fifth (415:.77).
Heat 3 began with a fleeting lead by China’s Liu Quing, but she was gradually reeled in to reality by the chase pack by 800m (2:11.44), lead by U.S. champion Shannon Rowbury and Russian Anna Alminova. Ukraine’s Nataliya Tobias joined the leaders at the bell, along with Kenyan Nancy Langat.
Langat took the lead with about 250m to go, one she would keep en route to her 4:03.02 win, the quickest performance of the evening. Tobias closed well to take second in 4:03.19, while Commonwealth champion Lisa Dobriskey of Great Britain confidently strode through the homestretch to finish third (4:03.22).
Rowbury (4:03.89) and Alminova (4:04.66) easily advanced by time.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF