The Kenyan Winny Chebet emerged as the winner in the women's 1500m at the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018 after leading for most of the race. The African champion thus became only the second African winner of this event in the World/ Continental Cup history after Hassiba Boulmerka in 1994.
Shelby Houlihan of the US was the runner-up for the Americas, as the Moroccan Rababe Arafi completed the podium to give Team Africa maximum points in the team competition.
Chebet took to the front in the early stages and her rivals seemed content to follow her at a leisurely pace, with the opening lap run outside 73 seconds. The leader and the pace remained constant for another 500 metres, before Houlihan made the first move. She moved into the lead, but not for long. To the delight of the Ostrava crowd, the Czech Simona Vrzalova put in a burst of speed on the last straight of the penultimate lap to move past everyone.
Vrzalova's lead lasted some 200 metres before she began to fade, while those behind her started to sprint for home. Once again it was Chebet in the lead, with Houlihan doing the chasing.
The American appeared to close down the gap somewhat in the final metres, but that was not enough. Chebet emerged victorious with a time of 4:16.01, with her final 300 metres taking just over 42 seconds. Houlihan reached the line 0.35s later, with Arafi third in 4:17.19. P. Unnikrishnan Chitra of India was the unexpected fourth for Asia-Pacific, while Vrzalova ended up sixth and the Pole Sofia Ennaoui, one of the pre-event favourites, a distant seventh.
Pawel Jackowski for the IAAF