Istambul, Turkey – World record holder, fastest in the world this year, four-time defending champion, Meseret Defar (ETH) remains on course to win a fifth consecutive title in the 3000 metres.
For 10 of the 15 laps of the first of two heats, Defar was roughly where we expect her to be. She was buried deep in the field of 11 as Silvia Weissteiner (ITA) led through the first 1000 metres in 3:08 and Paula Gonzalez (ESP) the second in 6:18.
By the end of the final lap, Defar was once again where we expect her to be Ã¢â‚¬â€œ first across the line in 9:11.76, and again favourite for SundayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s final.
Following Defar across the line was KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Sylvia Kibet, fourth in Doha 2010, Svitlana Shmidt of Ukraine and Jackie Areson (USA) whose major credential before this year was as last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s US NCAA 5000m indoor champion.
Ethiopian-born Betlhem Desalegn and Tejitu Daba, who were representing United Arab Emirates and Bahrain didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t qualified as they finished 5th and 6th respectively.
DefarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s teammate Gelete Burka came home in first place in 9:01.32, with KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Hellen Obiri, another Ukraine runner in Nataliya Tobias and Ethiopian-born Shitaye Eshete (BRN) taking the other automatic qualifier places.
Obiri fell in the 1500m final at last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s World Championships in Daegu and will be looking for a better result here.
The other four places in the final went to Helen Clitheroe (GBR), Sara Hall (USA), Ethiopian-born Alia Saeed Mohammed (UAE) and PolandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Lidia Chojecka.
Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia advanced to the semi-final from Heat 3 after finishing second (1:5.56) behind Jakub Holusa of the Czech Republic.
Competing in her first World Indoor Championships, 19-year-old Ethiopian Fantu Magiso broke from the field with just over 200 metres remaining to cruise to an easy victory in 2:01.69. Runner-up Marayna Arzamasava of Belarus, clocked 2:02.05, not fast enough to move on into the six-woman final.
“I felt good and expected to run a personal best today,” said Magiso, the national record holder at 200, 400 and 800m. “I made it to the next round and I will now prepare for the semi-finals. I want to win here.” If she even finishes in the top-three, it’ll be a first for Ethiopia.
For detailed results, please visit IAAF website.