LONDON (09-Aug) -- On a cold and rainy night here at London Stadium, most favorites advanced in the women's steeplechase and men's 5000m at the 16th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, but not without controversy and stumbles.
In the first heat of the women's steeplechase, Germany's Gesa Krause, the 2015 World Championships bronze medalist, led Kenya's Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi and the United States' Colleen Quigley over the line as the first three automatic qualifiers. It was a slow heat, with Krause running only 9:39.86.
"We went out so slow," Krause told IAAF interviewers. "I have never had that before and I was scared about not qualifying. But I stayed calm. I am glad I made it to the final and won the race."
But minutes after the heat, Quigley was disqualified under IAAF rule 163.3(b), infringement of the inside border. An official ruled that she stepped on, or inside, the line after the water pit before rejoining the curbed portion of the track on the straightaway. Quigley did not know she was disqualified until she was told by a reporter in the mixed zone.
"What?" the stunned former Florida State star said before being escorted away by a USA Track & Field Official. Jill Geer, USA Track & Field's chief marketing officer, said in a brief statement to Race Results Weekly that the disqualification had been upheld despite an official protest.
"After our protest was denied, we took it back to the officials and the chairwoman of the jury," Geer explained. "The video was reviewed again and they upheld the disqualification, making a formal appeal unnecessary. They also denied arguments based on the fact that there was no cone or railing."
Quigley's two teammates, Olympic bronze medalist Emma Coburn and 2016 NCAA champion Courtney Frerichs, both advanced. Frerichs finished third in the second heat in 9:25.14, while Coburn finished second in the third heat in 9:27.42.
"I wanted to get that big 'Q' and that was the whole goal," said Frerichs. "I spoke to (coaches) Jerry (Schumacher) and Pascal (Dobert) about not trying to run 9:15 unless I have to. When the two of them (Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech and Bahrain's Ruth Jebet) took off I felt like it was best to let them go."
Jebet, a former Kenyan, is the world record holder and 2016 Olympic champion.
Also advancing to the final with top-five hopes were Kenyan teenager Celliphine Chepteek Chespol, who won the third heat ahead of Coburn, and Australia's Genevieve Lacaze, who sprinted strongly in the third heat to take third place in 9:27.53.
"I thought that the time would be fast enough to get in on time, but you can never be sure," LaCaze told Race Results Weekly. "I just saved it. I felt so good with two laps to to, one lap to go, when I thought, don't do anything stupid. You don't know what your kick's like that far out."
Farah Takes Next Step To Second Gold
Britain's Mo Farah, who won the 10,000m on the first night of these championships, took the next step towards retaining his 5000m world title by taking second in the first of three heats behind Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha, 13:30.18 to 13:30.07. It was a messy heat with a lot of pace changes, bumping and shoving.
"I'm a bit tired but you have just got to recover," said Farah whose team provided him with recovery drinks which were kept in a clear, locked case to thwart tampering. "It is always tough after the 10,000m heats, so I'm just happy to qualify. It is difficult to pick yourself back up and go out there to race so soon. I had to switch off and go again. Rounds are the hardest part."
Ethiopia's Muktar Edris finished third and Canada's Justyn Knight --who avoided trouble by running near the back before sprinting strongly in the final 100 meters-- finished fourth. The Syracuse University star was pleased with his run.
"It was fantastic," Knight told reporters. "I expected that out of championship racing; it's not going to be pretty. It's not like it's a time trial, so nobody's going to be along the rails for the whole run. But, I tried to stay out of trouble."
Trouble found Paul Chelimo of the United States, the 2016 Olympic 5000m silver medalist. Nine minutes and three seconds into the second heat, Chelimo was tripped and both he and Kenya's Kiprono Menjo went down. Chelimo picked himself up, slowly caught up to the field and ended up finishing eighth with a time qualifier of 13:24.88 (Menjo did not advance).
"It was really wet, so I couldn't even control myself to stay up," Chelimo lamented. "So, when I fell down I was like, Paul, I don't think it's over, you know? You've just got to stand up an get back into it."
Chelimo's USA teammate, Ryan Hill, also advanced by finishing fifth in the same heat with a smooth final 100 meters where he kicked down several rivals.
"It was like a December day in Portland," Hill quipped about the cold and rainy conditions. He continued: "It got really physical and I had to hurdle someone. I didn't even know Chelimo went down until he passed me. I don't remember passing him."
The top-3 finishers in the second heat were Ethiopia's Selemon Barega (13:21.50), Bahrain's Birhanu Balew (13:21.91), and Kenya's Cyrus Rutto (13:22.45). Australia's Pat Tiernan, who finished a disappointing 22nd in the 10,000m last Friday, got fifth.
"At the end of the day, like, you get out there and you realize you want to come back again and compete at a top level," Tiernan told the media.