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Event Report Women 1500m Semi Final

Turkey's Sureyya AYHAN looks to be in gold medal winning form in the women's 1500m.

The European champion toyed with her opponents in the semi-finals, finishing second in the first heat on 4:03.60, two tenths behind Romania's Maria CIONCAN. Her task in the final was made easier when the world indoor record holder, the 40 year-old American Regina JACOBS, was run out of the second semi, overtaken in the final straight by Slovenia's European 800m champion Jolanda CEPLAK.
 
Ayhan adopted her customary tactics, heading to a healthy lead early in the race. She was five metres ahead of the rest after the first circuit (1:03.82) and had opened a 10 metre gap by 800m (2:10.92), with Spain's Natalia RODRIGUEZ and Britain's Jo PAVEY leading the chasing group. With 600m to go the bunch began to close as Ayhan slowed, and Pavey was on the Turk's shoulder by the time they heard the bell (3:01.57).
 
As they approached the final bend Pavey's teammate Hayley TULLETT moved into third, with Cioncan coming fast around the turn, and it was these four plus Ukrainian Nelya NEPORADNA who filled the automatic qualifying places. Naomi MUGO (KEN), in sixth (4:04.54), and Bulgaria's Daniela YORDANOVA, in seventh (4:04.83), both ran season's bests to get their places in the final. Neporadna in fifth, clocked a personal best of 4:04.24.
 
Ceplak led the early stages of the second semi, taking the field through 400m in 1:03.76, before Jacobs moved to her shoulder. After 700m Russia's Yelena ZADOROZHNAYA went to the front, and she led through 800m in 2:11.54 as Ceplak slipped back to eighth, some 15 metres adrift of the leader, seemingly out of steam and out of the final.
 
Five athletes were clear of the rest as they took the bell, in 3:01.86. Zadorozhnaya, led from her compatriots Tatyana TOMASHOVA and Yekaterina ROZENBERG, plus Jacobs and Kenya's Commonwealth record holder Jackline MARANGA. At this point Ceplak was still way off the pace, as was the 1997 world champion Carla SACRAMENTO of Portugal.
 
The Slovenian made her move with 250m to go, cruising past the Portuguese and eating up ground to catch the leading group as they shifted into sprinting gear down the home straight. It was a case of six into five won't go in the final 40 metres as Jacobs's ageing legs failed her. Tomoshova took the victory in 4:05.39, with Rozenberg second, Maranga third, the fast finishing Ceplak fourth and Zadorozhnaya fifth. Jacobs, in sixth, clocked 4:06.92.