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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Kenyans in semis

World Athletics Championships – Men’s 1500 metres heats – London Stadium, London, Britain – August 10, 2017 – Alija Motoneu Manangoi and Asbel Kiprop of Kenya compete REUTERS/
World Athletics Championships – Men’s 1500 metres heats – London Stadium, London, Britain – August 10, 2017 – Alija Motoneu Manangoi and Asbel Kiprop of Kenya compete REUTERS/
Elijah Motonei Manangoi and Asbel Kiprop led a strong Kenyan brigade to storm the semi-final of the men’s 1,500m here in their race, which was the first in the qualification line-up.
The Kenyans navigated their way through a potentially tricky first-round heat, qualifying first and second in that order—3:45.93 and 3:45.96—but Centrowitz was clearly lacking form and trailed in last in 3:48.34.
Centrowitz has endured an injury and illness-plagued build-up to the championships but the 27-year-old was still touted as a medal candidate as he is renowned for being one of the most tactically astute racers.
“I’ve given enough excuses so far but after the US nationals, I’ve had some injuries,” said Centrowitz. “All athletes go through them. I’ve just had more than I usually do in one season. My fitness clearly isn’t where I’d like it to be. I didn’t feel like I could get any more than a couple of weeks of good, healthy training in. I suppose I’m more relieved than frustrated because now I can focus on getting better results in the future.”
There was very nearly another surprise in the second heat. Ronald Kwemoi barely made it, due to fast time, after finishing seventh (3:43.10) in a race where he was boxed for most of the final lap after the bell. Kwemoi hobbled off the track at last month’s IAAF Diamond League meeting and, on the evidence of tonight, he is far from the shape which saw him clock 3:30.89 at altitude to win the Kenyan Championships.
Finishing seventh in 3:43.10, Kwemoi only made it through as the sixth non-automatic qualifier and he looked destined to miss out altogether until the Netherlands’ Richard Douma fell ahead of him in the home straight after clipping the heels of Uganda’s Ronald Musagala. Bahrain’s Sadik Mikhou won that heat in 3:42.12, while Douma was advanced after an appeal.
Other noteworthy non-qualifiers from a ponderous first heat included 2014 European champion Mahiedine Mekhissi from France and 2014 world indoor champion Ayanleh Souleiman from Djibouti, who finished seventh (3:46.17) and 10th (3:46.64) respectively.
Timothy Cheruiyot was second in his race, crossing the line in 3:38.41 behind Luke Mathews of Australia (3:38.19), a race that recorded the highest number of qualifiers – 11.
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