This is Justin Lagat’s column on day seven of the World Champs, and he focused on the 5,000m, and the 800m heats.
Joshua Cheptegei returns to hunt another medal in the men’s 5000m event
Times are changing, and so is the men’s 5000m running event that continues to get more competitive; looking at what happened in the two heats on the 7th day of the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.
In the first heat, world leader Nicholas Kimeli of Kenya almost failed to get to the final after finishing sixth in the first heat, where seven runners all crossed the finish line within half a second.
Unlike in the past, when we would often have some runners getting overlapped in the distance track events at the World Championships, the men were all together into the last stages of the race, with eight of them in contention to win in the last 150m. A good sprint finish and a strategic position in the leading pack saw Uganda’s Oscar Chelimo (13:24.24) win the heat ahead of USA’s Grant Fisher (13:24.44) and Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega (13:24.44). The 4-days-old 10,000m champion, Joshua Cheptegei (2:24.47), finished fourth. Perhaps, the consistent 4th digit in the results here prophetically points out to us who to watch out for at finals.
Runners in the second heat might have learned a lesson from the first heat as theirs, controlled by Luis Grijalva of Guatemala for the better part of the race, was quite faster and got nine qualifiers going on to the finals. Jacob Krop won the heat in 13:13.30, followed by Jakob Ingebrigtsen in second and Grijalva in third.
Ethiopia’s Deribe Welteji ran the fastest qualification time of 1:58.83 in the heats of the women’s 800m. All the main contenders made it through to the semi-finals; Athing Mu won the third heat, Keely Hodgkinson took the second heat, and Renelle Lamote won heat 4, with Raevyn Rogers and Natoya Goule winning heats 5 and 6. Ajee Wilson finished third in heat 4 while Mary Moraa was 2nd in the last heat. The semi-finals will happen the following day.
With one more step to the final, the men’s 800m semi-finals saw the big names going through to the finals and some missing their spots. The two automatic qualification positions in the first heat were all taken by Kenyans. Wycliffe Kinyamal won the race in 1:45.38 ahead of Emmanuel Korir in 1:45.49. The second heat went to Algeria’s Djamel Sedjati in 1:45.44, with Gabriel Tual of France finishing second in 1:45.53. The third and fastest heat was won in 1:44.89 by Slimane Moula, also from Algeria, followed by Marco Arop of Canada in 1:45.12. Peter Bol of Australia and Emmanuel Wanyonyi of Kenya got the two non-automatic qualifications.