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By Justin Lagat—Kenyans are shifting their 3000m steeplechase dominance to the women's event. In most parts of Kenya, rain is often associated with good luck and blessings. Nothing more could have happened at the ongoing world championships in London to reinforce this believe than what just happened in the women's 3000m steeplechase race in which all the four Kenyan women, in the pouring rain, made it through to the finals. This rain could simply be marking the beginning of Kenya's dominance of the event on the women's side.
 
In a very slow first heat that left the race open up to the last 200m, Kenya's Purity Kirui could not summon enough strength to finish in the first three automatic places when it came down to a sprint for the finish. She finished 4th and her time of 9:40.53 was definitely going to get her into the finals if she was to qualify as one of the fastest losers. However, Colleen Quigley of the US, who had finish in third place, got disqualified and the lucky Kirui managed to get an automatic qualification to replace her. There were two Kenyans in the first heat; Hyvin Kiyeng, the defending champion and Kirui. Kiyeng finished second making it safely to the finals.
 
In the second heat, Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech and Bahrain's Ruth Jebet opened a big gap on the rest of the field and dominated the race as they both comfortably qualified for the finals. Courtney Frerichs of USA finished in third to join the two as the automatic qualifiers on heat two.
Published in Track & Field
BY STUART WEIR
 
It was only the heats of the women's 1500 metres but the three races were compelling watching as we sought to glean pointers towards the destination of the medals. Of course tonight was just about securing a place in Saturday's semi-final ahead of Monday's final.
 
With six automatic qualifying places available in each race plus a further six on time, it was fascinating to see how the big guns approached the task.
 
The first heat was won by Genzebe Dibaba in a time of 4:02.67. One of the big questions was how would Caster Semenya fare in the 1500m? She was anonymous for much of the race before making a move with 200 to go to finish second in 4:02.84. Britain's Jess Judd qualified with a PR of 4:03.73 but she achieved it in a strange way. She led the race from start to almost finish but was overtaken by a group of fast finishers to take sixth place.
Published in Track & Field