Abeba Aregawi of Ethiopia crosses the line in the Women's 1500m Semifinals on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright

London 2012 - Event Report - Women's 1500m Semi-Final

Ethiopia’s 2012 breakout Abeba Aregawi led all qualifiers from this evening’s 1500m semi-finals, a round that wasn’t kind to the 2011 World Championships gold and silver medallists.

Aregawi, the winner of this season’s Rome and Oslo stops on the Samsung Diamond League, kicked away from tight field at the top of the homestretch to a very quick 4:01.03 win in the second of two heats.

"Everything went according to plan," said Aregawi, who’s broken four minutes in three races this season. "I am ready for the final. The field is full of talent and any one of us could win a gold medal."

Indeed that list is long, starting with at least four of the women who finished within a few steps of her in the faster of the heats. Turk Gamze Bulut (4:01.18, PB), who turned 20 just five days ago, looked very strong in second, finishing just ahead of Russian Tatyana Tomashova (4:02.10), who after controlling much of the race’s first half, held on for third. Former two-time World champion Maryam Jamal closed strong to finish fifth, her 4:02.18 a season’s best, with Kenyan Hellen Obiri landing the final automatic qualifying spot in 4:02.30.

In the first heat, Turk Asli Cakir Alptekin made her break from the dangerously crowded field at the top of the homestretch to take the victory in 4:05.11. Behind her, Russian Ekaterina Kostetskaya, American Morgan Uceny and Briton Lisa Dobriskey were separated by just 0.03 seconds to take spots two, three and four, with Shannon Rowbury, the 2009 World bronze medallist, sneaking by Canadian Hilary Stellingwerff to join compatriot Uceny in the final.

The fast second heat gave us the two qualifiers based on time, which after a referee’s decision became three. Natallia Karieva of Belarus was sixth in 4:02.37 to move on, but then it took a photo to separate Briton Laura Weightman and Slovak Lucia Klocova, who each clocked 4:02.99. As their times were identical to the thousandths of a second, Klocova was given a ticket to Friday night’s final as well. (NB: See text of ruling below.)

No such luck for Jenny Simpson and Hannah England, the 1-2 finishers in Daegu last summer. Simpson, who briefly ran in mid-pack in the second heat, faded badly over the final lap and finished last while England ran out of steam in the homestretch of Heat one, finished a distant ninth.

"There was nothing wrong," Simpson said. "I was in good shape. I felt good. I just ran poorly."

England meanwhile simply didn’t have enough time to come back from an Achilles injury. "I hoped maybe I could make the final but I missed five weeks on the track and that’s pretty hard to come back from. It’s a gap too big."

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF


Tie in Heat 2 of the Semi-Finals of the 1500m Women
Wednesday 8 August 2012 20:50

A tie occurred in the Heat 2 of the Semi-Finals of the 1500m Women.

British athlete Laura Weightman (bib number 1879) and Slovak Athlete Lucia Klocova (bib number 2995) recorded the same time of 4:02.99.

When the photo finish was examined, the time to the thousandth of a second was still the same. However, the photo finish picture did allow to see that Weightman had finished slightly ahead of Klocova.

The athletes were therefore ranked 7th Weightman and 8th Klocova.

However, as 4:02.99 one of the two fastest times among athletes not qualified automatically (first 5 in each heat) the Referee Technical Delegate decided to also advance Lucia Klocova to the next round.