Genzebe Dibaba en route to her clear victory in the 1500m heats in Birmingham (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Birmingham, UK

Report: women's 1500m heats - IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018

Just shy of 24 hours after their thrilling battle for the medals in the women’s 3000m final on opening night, Genzebe Dibaba, Sifan Hassan and Laura Muir were back on track in Arena Birmingham, scrapping for places in Saturday’s (3 August) 1500m final.

Dibaba and Muir were pitted together in the opening heat, with only two automatic qualifying places available: the Ethiopian who bagged a fourth world indoor gold at double the distance on Thursday (1 March) versus the Briton whose 3000m bronze represented her first global medal.

There were also three fastest non-qualifier spots in each of the three races but Dibaba and Muir had no need to sweat over one of those. Dibaba hit the front with 600m to go, looking as assured as she had in the 3000m final, and made sure of first place in 4:06.25.

Muir bided her time before passing Spain’s Marta Perez to go into second and resisted a brief challenge from Jamaican Aisha Praught down the back straight on the final 200m circuit, closing on Dibaba down the home straight to progress as runner up in 4:06.24. Third place in 4:07.51 proved quick enough to reward Praught with a non-automatic spot.

Only the first two made it through from heat two. Thankfully for the multi-talented Beatrice Chepkoech, there was no water jump to avoid. The Kenyan who finished fourth in the 3000m steeplechase final at last year’s World Championships, after inadvertently taking a wrong turn, led from gun to tape, prevailing in 4:09.12.

Behind her, the fast-finishing Colleen Quigley of the US won the battle for second, clocking a lifetime best of 4:09.31 ahead of the unlucky Canadian Kate van Buskirk (third in 4:09.14, also a PB) and South Africa’s Dominique Scott (fourth in 4:09.80).

Even more unfortunate was former European 5000m champion Meraf Bata. The Swede was looking good in third before tripping with two laps to go, picking herself up off the track to finish a distant eighth in 4:22.40.

There was an even more notable casualty from heat two.

Like Dibaba, Hassan hit the front with 600m to go and won with ease, clocking 4:05.46 in her first 1500m race of the season. Behind her, Kenya’s Winny Chebet took second with 4:05.81, a PB, while Rabade Arafi of Morocco (third in 4:06.12) and US champion Shelby Houlihan (fourth in 4:06.21) both claimed non-automatic qualifying slots.

That left 2016 silver medallist Dawit Seyaum out in the cold, the Ethiopian crossing the line fifth in 4:10.20.

Simon Turnbull for the IAAF