The women’s 60m finalists were decided in three thrilling semifinal heats, with two-time world silver medallist Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast storming to a scorching 7.01 world lead in the process.
With a lightning fast start, the 30-year-old sped to victory in the first semifinal ahead of Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson. Olympic 100m and 200m champion Thompson took her speed up a gear from the first round with a swift 7.07 to finish second to Ahoure.
In a loaded semifinal, two-time world 200m champion Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands finished third in 7.09 but it was ultimately enough to advance as the fastest non-automatic qualifier.
US indoor champion Javianne Oliver and European indoor champion Asha Philip were not so fortunate, however. They clocked 7.10 and 7.13 respectively – times that would have won the gold medal here when the World Indoor Championships was last held in Birmingham in 2003 – but finished outside the available qualifying spots for the final. Oliver’s 7.10 is the fastest time never to make a world indoor 60m final.
The second semifinal was taken comfortably by Ahoure’s teammate Marie-Josee Ta Lou. The double world silver medallist registered 7.08 to qualify as third-fastest for the final. Behind her, Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye and Remona Burchell of Jamaica tied with 7.15 – even down to the thousandth with 7.145 – to share the second automatic qualification spot. The knock-on effect of that was that it left just one non-automatic qualifying spot for the final.
European 100m bronze medallist Mujinga Kambundji of Switzerland claimed the third semifinal with 7.10, while France’s Carolle Zahi finished second in 7.17, hours after speeding to a 7.11 lifetime best in the first round.
Aside from Oliver and Philip, others to miss out on a place in the final included German indoor champion Tatjana Pinto, Poland’s world U20 record-holder Ewa Swoboda and South African record-holder Carina Horn.
Nicola Sutton for the IAAF