World Indoor Champs, 2010: Day 1, Session 2, Women's 3,00 m heats, by Larry Eder

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Defar_MeseretQ-Worldi10.jpg

Meseret Defar, World Indoor Champs, Doha, Qatar, 2010, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Meseret Defar looks set to defend her 3,000 meter title, however, there were some surprises in this first round. Defar will have to battle Vivian Cheruiyot, the WC from Berlin over 5,000 meters. Like, what the heck is a marathoner doing moving down to the 3,000 meters, setting a Pb and making the final? That is what happened to Desiree Davila!

Women's 3,000 meters, qualifying

Round 1

Distance running is a global sport. The level of excellence in women's distance running grows everyday! The women's 3,000 meters is a prime example of the quality and growth of women's distance running and the continuing value of sport as a way to champion a level playing field for women in sport.

Remember the above statement when I share some of my experiences in Doha over the next few days....

Rene Kalmer of South Africa lead the field through the first kilometer, in 3:10.50. Poland's Renata Plis took over the pace setting chores, taking the field through 6:13.2 for 2,000 meters, a good increase on the pace (3:02.70).

Now the racing began. Sentayehu Ejigu of Ethiopia dropped the charade and took off, running a strong 2:46 last kilometer, winning in 9:00.34. Sara Moreira of Portugal was just behind her, in 9:01.01. Vivian Cheruiyot, the WC over 5,000 meters from Berlin, just stayed out of trouble, and finished third in 9:01.35, never in doubt of qualifying. In fourth, setting a national record for South Africa, was Rene Kalmer, in 9:01.41.

Barbara Parker was fifth in 9:01.52, the Brit not moving on. Renata Plis of Poland, who had lead the second kilometer, finshed in 9:02.68. The U.S's Sara Hall battled the entire way, but was cut short over the last two laps, not having enough strength to get into the top four and advance into the next round!

heat 2

Jessica Augusto,from Portugal, is a cross country specialist. Two weeks ago, in Birmingham, England, I witnessed Augusto run a fine 9:19 two mile, having stayed with Dibaba for most of two miles.

Augusto took the pace out at 2:57.71 for one kilometer. Fast, but an even, honest pace, where the drain of a solid pace will catch up with all but the best. Augusto lead through two kilometers, another strong kilometer of 2:59, for a 5:56.16, so the pace was strong.

After that, Meseret Defar got into the game and used a 2:51 last kilometer to win in 8:48.23. Sylvia Jebiwott Kibet finished in second in 8:48.60. Alemitu Bekele ran a seasonal best of 8:48.73 for third. Layes Abdullayeva of Azerbijan, ran 8:49.65 for fourth, in a personal best. In fifth, Jessica Augusto of Portugal was rewarded for her fast pace-making, with a nice 8:50.81.

But, here was the fun one! Desiree Davila, a Brooks Hanson Project runner, a marathoner in the 2:37 range, dug into the pace, and ran 8:51.08, her personal best, as Davila moved to the final.

Lidia Chojecka, one of Poland's top runners, was sixth, behind Davila, in 8:52.14, her seasonal best, and moved on to the final. Adrienne Herzog of the Netherlands, was the last qualifier in 8:53.24.

My picks: This is a battle between Meseret Defar, Vivian Cheruiyot and Sylvia Kibet. Jessica Augusto might be able to slip into the top four, but this could be a very, very tough fight for medals. In the end, I am going to tip my hat to Defar for the gold, Cheruiyot for the silver.

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