Defending champion Faith Chepngetich on Wednesday led qualified for the semi-finals of women’s 1,500 metres at the World Championships in Doha. Chepngetich qualified alongside fellow Kenyan Winny Chebet for Thursday’s semi-final races will be held from 11pm. Chepngetich timed 4 minutes, 03.93 seconds to finish second behind Dutch Sifan Hassan who won the heat in a time of 4:03.88.Chebet timed 4:08.36 to finish behind Morocco’s Rababe Arafi (4:08.32) in the second in heat.Chepngetich was happy with the good start to her title defence.
“I am happy to have come back from maternity leave in good form. I anticipate a tough race in the semi-finals,” Chepngetich said.
American Jenny Simpson (4:07.27) won the third heat to progress to the semi-finals alongside Canada’s Gabriela Dubues-Stafford (4:07.28). The first six athletes from each heat qualified for today’s semi-final races alongside the fastest six athletes from the heats.
Meanwhile, reigning world 5000 metres champion, Hellen Obiri won her heat to qualify for the final alongside Lilian Kasait and Margaret Chelimo. Obiri won the first heat in 14:15:13 to qualify ahead of American Karisa Schweizer who timed 14:52:41. The final will be held on Saturday. Obiri said her priority remains reaching the final when she competes in the semis.
“I changed strategy and ran a quick race from the front. The target now remains qualifying for the final and to fight for the title from there,” Obiri said yesterday.
Kasait (15:03:03) finished fourth in the second heat that also had fellow Kenyan Margaret Chelimo (15:01:08). The heat was won by Ethiopia’s Tsehay Gemechu in a time of 15:01.07. The top five athletes from the heats qualified for the final alongside the next fastest five from the heats.
At the same time, Emmanuel Korir on Wednesday stormed the final of men’s 400 metres race at the World Championships in Doha. Kenya’s other representative in the semi-final of the one-lap race, Alphas Kishoyian, finished sixth in heat three to exit the championship. Korir, who is also, clocked 44.37 seconds to finish second in his semi-final heat won by America’s Fred Kerley in a time of 44.2. Korir, whose qualifying time was also his best time this season, said afterwards that his target is to finish on the podium in Friday’s final.
“Finishing second in my heat gives me confidence. If I train well, I will do well and maybe run in 43 seconds. If I finish among the top three, I will appreciate that,” Korir, who also represented Kenya in men’s 800m race here in Doha, said.
Kishoyian timed 45.55 to finish sixth in the third heat of the semi-final won by Machel Cedenio from the Trinidad and Tobago, followed by Colombia’s Anthony Zambrano 44.55. Stephen Gardiner from the Bahamas won the second heat in 44.13. The first two athletes across the line qualified for the final alongside the next two fastest runners in the heats.
World and Commonwealth 1,500 metres silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot lines up alongside compatriots Ronald Kwemoi, Kumari Taki and George Manangoi in men’s heats of the metric-mile race at the World Championships in Doha from 10pm on Thursday night, seeking to win the title Elijah Manangoi won two years ago in London.
Reigning champion Elijah withdrew from Team Kenya and was replaced by 2016 World Under-20 1,500m champion Kumari Taki.
At the national trials, Cheruiyot timed 3 minutes, 28.77 seconds to finish ahead of second-placed Kwemoi (93:33.99) who was followed by George (3:31.49) and Taki. Cheruiyot believes his 1500m victory at the Diamond League in Switzerland where he set a meet record, offers him a good platform from where to launch his title bid.
“I have had a good season and my training has gone on well. Winning in Switzerland puts me in a good frame of mind heading to Doha where my target is to graduate from silver to gold,” he said after winning at the trials.
Cheruiyot was promoted from the rank of a Constable to an Inspector at the Kenya Prisons Service just days before leaving for Doha with team Kenya.
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