In the men’s 1500m event, semi-finals will take place. The first round went smoothly two days ago; not so smoothly but we saw no major surprises. You can revisit their results in this post. In this one, we’ll focus on what finalist runners might surprise us with next time around.
Men’s 1500m running. Who’s not starting?
In 2016, the Algerian runner Taoufik Makhloufi won the silver medal at last year’s Asian Games in Jakarta. He was named by his country to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where he would be looking for a fourth and final Olympic medal.
Mohamed Katir was not on many people’s radar prior to this year. But in recent months he has risen, improving his personal bests and achieving a second place in Monaco with a Spanish record of 3:28.76. Even before that run, he only made the Olympic list for the 5,000 meter event and there has been no change since then.
Kamar Etyang was no better known before this season, but his second place in the Kenyan qualifying race is an automatic Olympic medal contender. However, for Kenya (Category A country), each athlete must undergo 3 out-of-competition doping tests in the last 10 months before Olympics. It’s unlikely that Kamar can complete these three tests because he isn’t a regular participant internationally; he will have to postpone trips to international championships until rectified.
Key talking points
The two Kenyans that competed in the Tokyo race and qualified for the Olympics, Charles Simotwo and Abel Kipsang, were each beaten by Cheruiyot. However, a 5th place finish at a Monaco race with 3:30.30 looks pretty competitive given where they are ranked this season. For Kipsang, on the contrary, a third rank had turned out to be his worse performance this season ahead of Hengelo where he was second behind Weitman but won all of his other races back in Kenya.
Serbia and Kenya have both had a lot of success recently, but their popularity doesn’t compare to Cheruiyot who has broken multiple records for her time.
The Olympic qualifiers finish in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi
When it comes to the prospect of beating Cheruiyot, Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen is the first to stand out. The 19-year old wasn’t very happy with 4th place at the World Championships in Doha but since then he has become dominant and his goal in this race will be to finally overtake a reigning champion who happens to be Kenyan.
Norwegian hammer thrower Jakob Ingebrigtsen had a very tough couple of weeks, missing starts in Oslo and Stockholm with what he called ‘a cold’ that he picked up during the grueling Diamond League stage.
At the World Championships, two Brits Jake Wightman and Josh Kerr surprisingly took 5th and 6th places. Both athletes are trained to have improved since that time:
– Wightman was able to run 3:30 in Monaco last year, this year he won the race in Hengelo with two Kenyan Olympians.
– Kerr is better known for his finish: he ran the 800 meter individual start of running 55.8 – 50.5 (total time of 1:46) which is a lap spread of 37 seconds at British Championships with 300 meters remaining on a straight part of 100 meters (3:40).
But both Serbia and Kenya have only played each other once in the Diamond League stages (and hardly any international competitions) this year, so it is hard to predict anything. It’s certainly possible that one of them ends up in the top three. Even if third-placed Briton Jake Heyward does as well.