Maria Mutola has booked a place in Monday’s 800 metre final. The athlete
from Mozambique could achieve a unique double. Never before in Olympic history
has a woman won the 800 metres at two Olympic Games. Mutola is the reigning
champion and look strong again, after she had injury problems during the season
that hampered her. She was in control of her semi final, winning in 1:59,30
Moroccan Hasna Benhassi also looked strong. She won her semi final in
1:58,59 minutes, beating Jolanda Ceplak on the home straight. The Slovenian
will also be in with a chance as well as Britain’s Kelly Holmes, who won
her semi final, clocking the fastest time of the day (1:57,98). Jearl Miles
Clark (US) will also be in the final.
There will probably be a gold medal for Kenya on Tuesday when the 3000 m
steeplechase will take place. Brimin Kipruto, Ezekiel Kemboi and Paul Kipsiele
Koech all progressed through their heats. And there will be no danger from
Ethiopians this time. For some reason steeple chase is not their event. None of
their runners reached the final. But there was a fine run by an US athlete:
Daniel Lincoln showed some courage running from the front. It was only on the
last 250 metres that he was passed. But finishing fourth in 8:19,62 minutes was
good enough to make it into the final.
Already on Friday the first round of the 5,000 metres had become a midnight
affair in Athens. Tirunesh Dibaba, one of the favourites for Olympic gold, won
her heat in a time of 15:00,66 minutes. While the World Cross Country Champion
Edith Masai (Kenya) is also through to the final Marla Runyan (US) missed it.
She finished 9th in 15:24,88. Shayne Culpepper (US) was 13th with 15:40,02. The
second heat was won by another Ethiopian: Meseret Defar ran a quick 14:52,39.
Turkey’s new world record holder, Elvan Abeylegesse, who originally comes
from Ethiopia as well, was second clocking 14:54,80. In this heat Shalane
Flanagan (US) finished 11th (15:34,63) and missed the final as well.
While in the first round of the 1,500 metres Alan Webb (US) missed the semi
finals by 26 hundredth of a second (he clocked 3:41,25) his countryman Grant
Robinson finally was lucky. He had been obstructed during the race and was
reinstated after a protest by the US federation. So Robinson will run in the