Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Daily Daegu: Bernard Lagat's quest for Gold starts today

Farah will look to spin Silver in to Gold in the 5000
Day 6 at Daegu kicks off tonight at 9:05pm Eastern with the Men's 5000 semis. The top 5 out of each heat qualify for the final in addition to the top 5 times after that. Galen Rupp and Bernard Lagat are in heat 1, with Kenya's Isiah Koech and Thomas Longosiwa, Ethiopia's Dejen Gebremeskel, Australia's Buster Mottram and Collis Birmingham, plus host of other excellent athletes. Kenenisa Bekele was supposed to be in heat 1, but apparently is not running. Andrew Bumbalough, who replaced teaammate Chris Solinsky on the team, is in heat 2 with Ethiopia's Imane Merga, Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, Ireland's Allistar Cragg (via Mammoth TC), Australia's Ben St. Lawrence and some guy named Mo Farah, who will be looking for redemption. Rupp and Lagat should get through to the finals, but Bumby's gonna have his hands full. It will be a great experience for him at minimum for what's to come. No pressure is good.

The Women's 800 meter prelims go off at 10:40pm. Maggie Vessey goes off in heat 1 (with favorite Jenny Meadows). Alysia Montano goes off in heat 3 (with Janeth Jepkosgei). And finally, Alice Schmidt goes off in heat 4 (with Caster Semenya). All three should have a pretty easy time getting through to the semis, with Montano facing the hardest competition (4 other competitors sub 2:00 this year in her heat).

After an American night's rest and an afternoon's rest in Daegu, the night (Daegu)/morning (America) session will get going at 6:55am with the Men's 1500 Semis. Frenchman Mehdi Baala's protest was successful and he has been advanced to the first heat of the semis and will join Matt Centrowitz, Silas Kiplagat, Amine Laalou, Yusuf Kamel and others in a top 5 go automatically situation. The next 2 times will advance to the finals as well. Leo Manzano is in the second heat, with Asbel Kiprop, Nick Willis, Daniel Komen, Deresse Mekonnen and Irishman Ciaran O'Lionaird. Expect a tough, but doable run for Centro and expect Manzano to cruise through to the final.

Staying one step ahead of Kenya
Next up is the Men's Steeple final at 7:25am. No Americans involved. It will be exciting to see Kenya's Brimin Kipruto coming off a .01 second miss of the World Record, against countryman Ezekiel Kemboi, and the two Frenchmen,  Bob Tahri (Mehdi Baala's training partner) and Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad (Mehdi Baala's sparring partner).

Finally, the Women's 1500 final goes off at 7:55am. Can the Americans get a medal, or possibly two? I would think so. Morgan Uceny has been incredible all year and has looked flawless in the prelims. Jenny Simpson has showed some bite in the prelims and has a furious kick from time to time. Their hands will be full with all the usual suspects involved, but Shannon Rowbury got the bronze in 2009, so they have a great chance to make it happen.

Follow along on Universal Sports and and check the results on the IAAF's Daegu page.

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