Dawit Seyaum and Brenda Martinez in the 1500m heats at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 (© Getty Images)
Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands and Dawit Seyaum of Ethiopia remain on course for a head-to-head duel in the women’s 1500m final on Saturday night after both powered to victory in impressive style in Friday afternoon’s qualifying heats.
In the first heat, Seyaum was content to sit deep in the pack through the opening half as Poland’s Renata Plis took the pacing duties, leading the field through 800m in 2:15.15. As they approached the 1000m mark, Seyaum shot to the front and began to move through the gears, unleashing a 46.35-second final 300m to coast to victory in 4:09.05 ahead of teammate Axumawit Embaye (4:09.43) and Brenda Martinez of the US (4:09.75).
Plis was rewarded for her early effort by securing a non-automatic qualifying spot in 4:10.44, while Kenya’s Viola Lagat also sneaked through with a season’s best of 4:10.77.
In the second heat, all eyes were on Sifan Hassan, and the Dutch world bronze medallist didn’t disappoint, surging to the front on the penultimate lap and showing impressive gears over the final 100m to take victory in 4:07.28.
Ethiopia’s longtime leader held on well for second place in 4:07.98, with Poland’s Danuta Urbanik taking third in 4:09.41. Australia’s Melissa Duncan hung on bravely to take fourth – and the final non-automatic qualifying spot – in 4:10.40.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF