By Mitch Phillips
LONDON (Reuters) – All the big names advanced from the first round of the women’s 1,500 meters on Friday, an event that is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing of the World Championships.
Ethiopia’s defending champion Genzebe Dibaba showed the way by winning the first heat in a sharp four minutes 2.67 seconds but jogging in just behind her was Caster Semenya, the South African Olympic 800m champion who is attempting the middle- distance double in London.
Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, owner of the three fastest times this season, won a slower second heat ahead of 2011 world champion Jenny Simpson of the United States but remains favorite, though Kenya’s Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon showed she will be in the mix with a strong run to take the third heat.
There was plenty for the home fans to cheer too with four Britons progressing – Jessica Judd, Laura Muir, Laura Weightman and, with a personal best to snatch a fastest loser slot, Sarah McDonald.
The semi-finals take place on Saturday with the final on Monday.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)