Running uncustomarily from lane four as opposed to his favoured lane seven which was occupied by Ireland’s Thomas Barr, reigning world and European champion Karsten Warholm made what he described as a “solid” start to his title defence at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha.
Warholm had amassed a handsome lead as he approached the top of the home straight and he could already afford to ease off with two hurdles remaining. Even so, his time of 49.27 was the third fastest across the heats and the second fastest winning time across the five races.
His winning time from the first heat was only surpassed by home favourite and last year’s undisputed world No.1 Abderrahman Samba from Qatar. Samba has raced sparingly this season due to injury but he showed a semblance of last year’s form in the third heat, winning in 49.08 after a cautious start.
But based on the form he has demonstrated across the season, Warholm begins as the favourite to defend his title - especially after his significant win over Rai Benjamin in the Zurich Diamond League where he eclipsed the 47 second-barrier with 46.92.
“It was a solid run,” opined Warholm. “Of course, Samba is competing on home soil so everybody will watch him and literally push him to the finish. But also Rai [Benjamin] is chasing me since Zurich and he wants to beat me. I do not feel pressure and I do not think of the time too much but I just need to execute what I am supposed to do.”
Barr, who won bronze behind Warholm at the European Championships in Berlin last summer, made it through automatically in second in 49.41 but European silver medallist Yasmani Copello from Turkey only qualified on time from the fifth heat in 49.75.
Ingebrigtsen brothers progress through to the 5000m final
The Ingebrigtsen triumvirate all progressed through to the 1500m final at the European Championships in Berlin last summer and they replicated this feat on the global stage in the 5000m although there was an anxious wait for the youngest and the most accomplished of the brothers.
Running in the first of two heats of the 5000m, double European champion Jakob was initially disqualified after finishing fourth in the first heat in 13:25.20 for stepping off the tartan and onto the in-field on a fast and frantic last lap but the Norwegians appealed the decision and the Jury of Appeal deemed that “no material advantage was gained.”
Filip Ingebrigtsen had a less stressful passage into the 5000m final, finishing third in 13:20.52 while the oldest and the most experienced of the Ingebrigtsens - Henrik - showed he had recovered sufficiently from a toe injury which has blighted him in recent months to complete the set of brothers in the 5000m final.
Henrik missed out on one of the automatic qualifying places but he took advantage of being in the faster of the two heats along with Filip to qualify on time in seventh in 13:21.22.
“Of course in Norway with three brothers in the final it’s historic,” he said. “And now we are in a position to be even more historic.”
The fourth European qualifier for the 5000m final was Belgium’s Isaac Kimeli who finished one place ahead of Henrik in the second heat in 13:20.99.
Krause leads European charge in the 3000m steeplechase; European U23 record for Moller
Two-time European champion Gesa Felicitas Krause from Germany was one of five European athletes to qualify for the final of the 3000m steeplechase.
Krause, who recently improved her national record to 9:07.51 in the Zurich Diamond League, came under some pressure off the last barrier from Denmark’s Anna Emilie Moller but Krause duly responded, sealing the third qualifying spot from the second heat in 9:18.82 to reach her fifth successive world final.
Moller just missed out on clinching an automatic qualifying spot but the double European U23 champion had more than good reason to be pleased with her evening's exploits. Her time of 9:18.82 was not only an improvement on her national record but it also took four seconds off her European U23 record as well.
Reigning champion Ekaterini Stefanidi was one of 17 athletes to clear the automatic qualifying height of 4.60m in the pole vault qualifying while Mariya Lasitskene, who is in contention to win her third successive title, cleared the automatic qualifying height of 1.94m in the high jump.
The Ukrainian had selected a strong triumvirate for the high jump and while reigning world silver medallist Yuliya Levchenko and European U20 champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh both qualified without too many problems, Iryna Herashchenko, who finished second behind Levchenko at The Match in Minsk earlier this month, exited with 1.85m.
Reigning European champion Miltiadis Tentoglou from Greece secured his passage into the long jump final although he needed all three attempts to confirm his place.
Tentoglou was languishing towards the bottom of the standings after beginning his qualifying campaign with 7.62m and 7.67m but the 21-year-old, who has an outright lifetime best of 8.38m from the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow, reached out to 8.00m on his third attempt.
This was short of the automatic qualifying mark of 8.15m - a mark which only Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria surpassed with 8.40m - but he still qualified with the seventh best jump of the two pools.