Faith Kipyegon in the 1500m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Report: women's 1500m semi-finals – Rio 2016 Olympic Games

The two big favourites for 1500m gold won their respective semi-finals, but one or two other athletes did enough to show that the final may not be just a two-way battle.

Britain’s Laura Weightman was the early leader in the first heat, passing 400m in 1:09.88. 800m was passed in 2:15.65 before world leader Faith Kipyegon moved up and forced the pace.

Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum moved up on to the Kenyan’s shoulder, but the world silver medallist held the lead until the end, crossing the line in 4:03.95 after covering the last lap in 1:00.43.

Seyaum was second in 4:04.23, while USA’s Shannon Rowbury and Ethiopia’s Besu Sado also qualified by right, clocking 4:04.46 and 4:05.19.

Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui, as she often does, came charging down the outside of the pack in the closing stages, but couldn’t quite catch Weightman, who crossed the line just 0.01 ahead to take the fifth and final automatic qualifying spot.

Ennaoui crashed to the ground, dejected, but later discovered that her 4:05.29 was enough to advance to the final as one of the two non-automatic qualifiers.

USA’s 2013 world 800m bronze medallist Brenda Martinez surprisingly faded on the last lap and trailed home last in 4:10.41.

The second semi-final was a shade quicker, as USA’s 2011 world champion Jenny Simpson covered the opening lap in 1:08.27.

Britain’s Laura Muir moved on to the shoulder of Simpson, who continued to lead for another lap, but world champion Genzebe Dibaba and world indoor champion Sifan Hassan then eased to the front about 40 metres before the bell sounded for the final lap.

Dibaba, Sifan and Muir detached themselves from the rest of the field as they kicked for home. Their running order remained the same as they crossed the line, Dibaba taking the victory in 4:03.06 after a 57.59 last lap.

Hassan finished second in 4:03.62 with Muir taking third in 4:04.16. Simpson and Meraf Bahta grabbed the other automatic qualifying spots in 4:05.07 and 4:06.41 respectively.

As was the case in the other semi-final, one of the medal contenders finished last; European champion Angelika Cichocka was a distant 12th in 4:17.83.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF