Cakir wins 1st Gold medal for Turkey
(pic courtesy of Patrick McHugh)
The women's 1500m final was an extremely tactical race as the pack was led out by Bulut and Jamal in a very slow 75 second first quarter. The pack continued to stick to the slow pace, coming into the 800 meter mark in 2:23.97. It wasn't until 400 meters to go when the big move was made. In an attempt to move up, Morgan Uceny in her 2nd major Championship was tripped again and fell, taking her out of the running for a medal in the final lap. It was an unfortunate repeat of the 2011 World Championships where she was tripped up and fell in the final 500 meters of the race, finishing last in the pack. The race continued with Asli Cakir of Turkey making a huge move for the lead and maintaining through the finish in a winning time of 4:10.23. Silver and bronze was a kicking battle to the finish when Gamze Bulut of Turkey just edged out Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain for silver. Shannon Rowbury of the US finished her 2nd Olympic 1500 final in 6th place, a place higher than her 7th place finish in Beijing in 2008.
Questions swirl about the sudden Turkish success. Asli Cakir was banned for 2+ years as a junior on a doping incident. Cakir, the former steeplechaser, ran a 7 second PR this season at Paris and before 2012 had never made a championships final in her life. For Bulut who just turned 20 years old, virtually came from no where. Before 2012 Bulut was a steepler with a 10:13 PR to her name and a 4:18 in the 1500, both times from 2011. This year her times saw massive drops of 39 seconds (9:34) in the steeple and 17 seconds in the 1500 (4:01). Bulut had never been at a global championship in the past, but found her way on the medal stand her in London.
Jenny Simpson After Missing Final:
Jenny quote on failing to qualify for the final (recap below):
"There was nothing wrong, I was in good shape. I felt good. I just ran really poorly."
"Two days ago I scared everyone and I cut it too close (in round 1). I am in good enough shape, but I have to realise there are more components to racing than putting one foot in front of each other."
1500 Semi-final Updates: Uceny/Rowbury Represent
Heat 1 - The first heat was a close call for the Americans as Morgan Uceny and Shannon Rowbury secured the 4th and 5th spots in the heat to qualify in the top 5 for the final. The race was taken out in a 66 second quarter. The 800 was picked up a bit and continued to pick up through the 1200 as Cakir of Turkey (served a 2+ drug ban) assumed the lead heading into the final lap. It was a frantic kick to the finish as Cakir led the charge in 4:05.11 and was followed by Kostektskaya of Russia, Morgan Uceny, Lisa Dobriskey of Great Britain, and Shannon Rowbury.
Heat 2 - JENNY SIMPSON MISSES FINAL! After sitting in the top five throughout most of the race Jenny Simpson missed the qualifying for the final as she could not respond in the final 300 meters when the leaders began to kick. The heat was led from the gun by Tomoshova of Russia (served a 2+ drug ban after getting busted before 2008 Olympics, also the 2004 Olympic Silver medalist) who took the field out in 65 and continued the lead through the 800 in 2:10. Turkey's Bulut took over at 1200 and brought the field in at 3:15. It was World leader Abeba Aregawi of Ethiopia who took the lead and the win in a 4:01 to qualify automatically along with Gamaze Bulut of Turkey, Tatyana Tomoshova of Russia, Maryam Yusuf Jamal, Helen Obiri of Kenya, Natalyia Kareiva, and Laura Weightman of Great Britain. The last two runners were able to qualify on time.
Semi-final heat sheets:
All three Americans onto 1500 meter semifinal
A fast early pace helped Shannon Rowbury qualify for the final despite not finishing in the top six automatic qualifying spots. Maryam Jamal, 3:56 Ethiopian Abeba Aregawi, Hannah England, Hilary Stellingwerff and Lucy Van Dalen have also moved on to the semifinal. It's notable that Morrocan Btissam Lakhouad, the fourth place finish at last year's world championships, did not start the race.
Unlike the fast first section, the pace went out very slowly in heat two. Jenny Simpson looked to be off the pace with a lap to go but rallied on the final straightaway to kick past three runners to earn the sixth and final qualifying spot. Also moving on are Britain's Lisa Dobriskey and Kaila McKnight of Australia.
Morgan Uceny looked relaxed to finish second in her heat and move on to the semifinal. Nicole Sifuentes and Zoe Buckman also made the second round as time qualifiers. The big shocker was 3:57 performer Genzebe Dibaba, the sister of Tirunesh, failing move on due to a leg injury.
last updated: July 21st at 6:05pm CT
2012 London Olympic Games
1500 Meter Schedule:
Day 4, Aug 6th - Round 1 (5:45pm CT) - qualifying procedure TBA
Day 6, Aug 8th - Semi-final (1:45pm CT) - qualifying procedure TBA
Day 8, Aug 10th - Finals (2:55pm CT)
1500 Meter Records:
World Record - 3:50.46 - Qu Yunxia (China) 9/11/93
Olympic Record - 3:53.96 - Paula Ivan (Romania) 9/26/1988
American Record - 3:57.12 - Mary Slaney 7/26/1983
The Favorites: (personal best/season best)
1. Abeba Aregawi, Ethiopia (3:56.54/3:56.54) - First Olympic Games
2. Asli Cakir Alptekin, Turkey (3:56.62/3:56.62) - Bronze medalist at 2012 World Indoor Championships
3. Genzebe Dibaba, Ethiopia (3:57.77/3:57.77) - 2012 World Indoor Champion
1. Morgan Uceny (4:00.06/4:01.59) - 10th place at 2011 World Championships
2. Shannon Rowbury (4:00.33/4:05.11) - Bronze medalist at 2009 World Championships
3. Jenny Simpson (3:59.90/4:05.17) - 2011 World Champion
Past 1500m Olympic Results: (from wiki)