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Hellen Obiri’s chances to defend her 5000m title got better, and the opposite happened for Faith Kipyegon, as Sifan Hassan chose the 1500m race over the 5,000m on Day 6 of Doha World championships

October 14, 2019
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Hellen Obiri after winning the world title in 2017

The chances for Hellen Obiri to defend her 5000m world title slightly improved on day six of the world championships after Sifan Hassan finally settled on the 1500m instead of the 5,000m. Hellen Obiri who was disappointed by finishing outside the medal bracket in the women’s 10,000m event was back in action, winning the first heat of the 5000m races in 14:52.13. This became the fastest time of the evening and must have given Obiri the confidence she would need in the final on Saturday.

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Good deeds were rewarded in the second heat of this event. Watching the start of the second heat, one would have easily wondered whether the athletes knew that they had to make the race a fast one in order to better their chances of qualifying to the final through their times, in case they would not finish in the top 5 automatic positions.

Ethiopia’s Fantu Worku was the first one to initiate a faster pace as they approached the first kilometer of the race. Consequently, in a race that built up into an exciting finish in which six athletes were all in contention to win it with about fifty meters to the finish line and in which about just one second separated the sixth from the first finisher, Worku finished sixth and her time took her to the finals. Three athletes; Tsehay Gemechu, Konstanze Klosterhalfen and Margaret Kipkemboi all crossed the finish line in a photo-finish.

Faith Kipyegon, who is the defending champion in the women’s 1500m race, got to meet with Sifan Hassan in the first heat. However, there was little to reveal who was stronger between the two as both did not show any signs of straining as the easily finished in the first two positions. Hassan ran 4:03.88 ahead of Kipyegon in 4:03.93. The final of this event will be an exciting race between the two.

Rababe Arafi of Morocco won the second heat in 4:08.32 ahead of Kenya’s Winnie Chebet in 4:08.36. The third heat went to Jenny Simpson to USA in 4:07.27, just ahead of Canada’s Gabriela Debues-Stafford in 4:07.28.

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