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The world record-holder took one step closer to 1500m glory after winning her semi-final in 4:06.74. Drawn in the second and quicker semi-final, Dibaba stayed out of danger near the back of the pack for much of the race.
World record holder Genzebe Dibaba took the lead with 800 meters remaining to easily win the women’s 1500-meter final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing on Tuesday.
Dibaba’s winning time in a race that started at a pedestrian pace was 4:08.09. Faith Kipyegon of Kenya battled Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands in the home stretch and earned the silver in 4:08.96 to Hassan’s 4:09.34.
In a disappointing showing for the Americans, U.S. record holder Shannon Rowbury was seventh in 4:12.39 and 2011 world champion Jenny Simpson was 11th in 4:16.28. Simpson moved into second place on the third lap but soon began to lose a shoe, which eventually came off. “I couldn’t get up on my toes and start kicking,” which caused her to fade back through the field, she said.
Dibaba, whose world record is 3:50.07, was patient through a slow beginning but covered the third 400 in 57.24 and the final lap in 59.40. She won her first outdoor world title on the same track where her older sister Tirunesh won 5,000 and 10,000 golds at the 2008 Olympics.
Dibaba’s tactics for Tuesday’s final were no secret. Via the media, her coach had made clear that she would make a decisive surge with 800 meters remaining.
The rest of the 1500 field played right into that plan. The first 400, with Rowbury and Simpson at the front and Dibaba next to last, was covered in a slow 77 seconds. Dibaba, as expected, moved to the front with two laps remaining, with Simpson initially in second. But the American was soon passed by Kipyegon, Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum, and Hassan.
Dibaba’s lead was insurmountable on the final straightaway. Kipyegon outdueled Hassan, who’d been the only runner to try to stay close to Dibaba in her world record in Monaco. Seyaum was fourth, Great Britain’s Laura Muir fifth and defending world champion Abeba Aregawi of Sweden sixth, followed by Rowbury.
Dibaba is scheduled to return to the track on Thursday for the semi-finals of the 5,000, in which her leading rival is her Ethiopian compatriot Almaz Ayana.
Simpson, deflecting any disappointment in a post-race interview with Universal Sports, referred to the 2011 gold and 2013 silver championships medals she has at home. “I already have more than I deserve,” she said.
Reigning Olympic champion and world record holder David Rudisha of Kenya led from start to finish to win the men’s 800. After a slow opening lap of 54.15, Rudisha began his long drive with 300 meters left and refused to let anyone pass him. His winning time was 1:45.84. Rudisha was also the world champion in 2011. Read More on runnersworld.com
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