Many British athletes impress during a busy evening of qualifying action, while there’s a stacked men’s javelin final in store after strong first round performances
A number of British athletes progressed from their respective heats, semi-finals and qualifying rounds on a busy evening of action at the IAAF World Championships in London.
First up on the track was the 5000m heats and both Laura Muir and Eilish McColgan secured their spots in the final after running outdoor PBs.
The loaded first heat saw a win for Kenya’s world-leader Hellen Obiri as she clocked 14:56.70 after a 2:44.30 final kilometre from Ethiopia’s defending champion Almaz Ayana and her team-mate Senbere Teferi, who ran 14:57.23.
Netherlands’ Susan Krumins was fourth in 14:57.33, while the final automatic spot was claimed after a late kick by Olympic 1500m fourth-placer Shannon Rowbury (14:57.55) as she pipped Kenya’s Sheila Kiprotich (14:57.58).
Muir had looked to be in a safe qualifying position on the last lap but the British 1500m record-holder – who had placed fourth in the final of that event on Monday evening – lost a couple of places in the home straight.
With her time of 14:59.34 for seventh Muir moves to sixth on the UK all-time outdoor list, though she has gone quicker indoors with her 14:49.12 clocked in January.
European champion Yasemin Can was one place behind in a non-qualifying 15:08.20.
“That was long,” said Muir. “I ran as hard as I could and that was really fast.
“I took a day to think about the 1500m then after that I put it behind me and focused on this. Mentally I was very positive going into this race.”
The second heat saw USA’s Molly Huddle to the fore and she had built up an eight-second lead at 3000m (9:07.14) and 4000m (13:07.68).
Despite accelerating, she went from first to eighth in the last 120 metres but did qualify with her time of 15:03.60 which placed her seventh.
The race was won by Letesenbet Gidey after a fast last lap, the Ethiopian clocking 14:59.34 with a final kilometre of 2:43 ahead of 1500m world-leader Sifan Hassan with 14:59.85.
Just seven hundredths of a second covered the next four, with Shelby Houlihan (15:00.37), McColgan (15:00.38) and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi (15:00.39) claiming the remaining automatic qualifying spots.
McColgan’s time moves her to ninth on the UK all-time list, just 0.82 off the PB her mum, Liz, set in 1995.
“I felt like I wanted to push the pace a little bit to at least string it out because my mum said not to leave it to a 200m mad sprint – and that’s exactly what ended up happening,” she said.
“To run that time, I’m really pleased. I couldn’t have asked for any more to be honest – automatic qualification and a new PB.”
Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal also booked her place in the final with her time of 15:00.44.
Britain’s Steph Twell struggled in the last few laps and won’t be joining her team-mates in the final after finishing 15th in 15:41.29, later explaining how her body had not felt right and she just couldn’t respond.
Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, who had placed 12th and last in the 1500m, did not start.
The men’s javelin looks set to be one of the contests of the Championships based on pre-competition form and some impressive marks in qualifying.
Led by Johannes Vetter’s 91.20m, which is the fourth furthest throw in World Championships history and would have been enough to win at every edition of the event except Edmonton in 2001 and Beijing two years ago, five athletes were over 85 metres. A total of 13 achieved the 83-metre qualifying standard, including Olympic champion Thomas Röhler, 2007 champion Tero Pitkämäki and defending champion Julius Yego.
There were more roars from the home crowd for Dina Asher-Smith as she continued to prove her return to form after her foot injury, running 22.73 to match her season’s best time clocked in the heats for second behind Marie-Josée Ta Lou with 22.50 as both booked their places in the 200m final.
After her fourth-place finish in Wednesday’s 400m final, Shaunae Miller-Uibo eased to a semi-final win over half the distance, clocking 22.49, as GB’s Bianca Williams was sixth in 23.40. The first semi-final had been won by defending champion and 100m medallist Dafne Schippers in 22.49.
Britain will have three semi-finalists in the women’s 800m as Shelayna Oskan-Clarke, Lynsey Sharp and Adelle Tracey all safely progressed.
USA’s world indoor silver medallist Ajee Wilson cruised to win the first heat in 2:00.52 before Poland’s 1500m finalist Angelika Cichocka won heat two in 2:00.86 as Oskan-Clarke ran 2:01.30 for third.
Olympic champion Caster Semenya kicked to take heat three in 2:01.33, while in heat four a well-judged race by Sharp saw her clock 2:01.04 for second behind Margaret Wambui with 2:00.75.
USA’s Charlene Lipsey won heat five in 2:02.74, while Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi took the faster heat six in 1:59.86. Finishing fourth, the 2:00.28 run by Tracey was enough to see her through and that time would have won each of the other five heats.
Marina Arzamasova won’t defend her title after placing fourth in her heat in 2:01.92.
Among those to advance to the men’s 1500m semi-finals were heat winners Elijah Motonei Manangoi of Kenya (3:45.93), Bahrain’s Sadik Mikhou (3:42.12) and Australia’s Luke Mathews (3:38.19).
Britain’s London Diamond League winner Chris O’Hare had a strong run to third in his heat in 3:42.53, booking his place in the next round where he’ll be joined by team-mate Jake Wightman after his 3:38.19 for fourth. Josh Kerr misses out after running 3:47.30 for 11th.
Others to progress include Kenya’s defending champion Asbel Kiprop (3:45.96) and team-mate Ronald Kwemoi, Norway’s Filip Ingebrigtsen (3:38.46) and Czech Republic’s Jakub Holusa (3:42.31).
After struggling with injury this season, Olympic champion Matt Centrowitz was among those to see their campaign come to an end as he ran 3:48.34 for 14th and last in the slow first heat.
The automatic high jump qualifying height was 1.94m but that wasn’t required and 12 athletes – including Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Morgan Lake – progressed to the final thanks to their clearances of 1.92m.
Johnson-Thompson – who holds the British record with 1.98m in this event – could only manage 1.80m as part of the heptathlon five days before, but she was back on form in the individual event, clearing 1.80m, 1.85m and 1.92m on her first attempts, though she needed two tries at 1.89m. Lake had first-time clearances up to 1.92m when she needed two attempts.
Joining them in the final will be the pre-competition favourite, Russia’s Maria Lasitskene, who is competing as a neutral athlete, plus Spain’s Olympic champion Ruth Beitia and USA’s world indoor champion Vashti Cunningham.
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