Jess Hull keeps faith ahead of race with Faith Kipyegon in 1500m final

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Key points

  • Jessica Hull is into the final of the women’s 1500m at the world athletics championships.
  • Kenyan Faith Kipyegon is favourite for that event, which will be run at 5.30am Wednesday (AEST).
  • Fellow Australians Linden Hall, Abbey Caldwell, Adam Spencer and Matthew Ramsden did not advance from the 1500m semi-finals to the final.
  • Aussie Brandon Starc qualified for the men’s high jump final, also on Wednesday morning (AEST).

Jess Hull ran poorly in one of the fastest semi-finals ever run in the 1500 metres yet still made the world championships final. Now, she’s hopeful about what she can achieve in the final if she gets her race right.

To get it right, she’ll need the final on Wednesday morning (Australian time) to be lightning quick.

It will be.

Australian Jess Hull (centre) and, on her left shoulder, Kenyan Faith Kipyegon trail the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan in the 1500m semi-final at the world championships.Credit: Reuters

World record holder Faith Kipyegon, the imperious figure of middle distance running, laid down the mark for the final with an intimidatingly quick 3 minute 55.14 second run to win the semi-final with Hull.

“Having still qualified for the final and immediately being like ‘oh my god, I made a couple of mistakes’, that’s a good place to be,” Hull said. “It’s never going to get easier, but if you can get through with not quite the perfect race, it’s probably a good thing.

“To be honest, I want the final to be lightning fast. I’m in really good shape and I want to see what that looks like. I really hope I race faster. I’ve got 48 hours [to prepare], so I’m pretty confident I can recover in that time and hope I get to pull a PB out in the final.”

Hull had a sloppy race. A battle-hardened runner, she was annoyed at herself for making a couple of costly errors.

“I thought when Sifan [Hassan, of the Netherlands] made her move, she was going to move harder and maybe I over-anticipated that,” Hull said.

“When she took the lead I thought ‘right, we’ve got to go now’. She kind of held it for a lap, and then she went and maybe I started thinking too much.

“It’s brutal. 3:57.80-something for me in that heat is nuts. I think last year maybe three women ran that fast, and now you have to run that fast to make the world championships final.”

Jess Hull keeping up with Faith Kipyegon in the semi-final.Credit: AP

Hull said the spectre of Kipyegon – the Kenyan world record holder – loomed over the event, influencing every runner’s tactics and thinking.

“Faith is the greatest of all time, and I have massive respect for her, but everyone has to show up on Tuesday (5.30am Wednesday AEST).

“Faith is Faith, but I don’t think anyone is just going to hand her the gold, Sifan Hassan in particular.

“She’s incredible what she’s doing, but like we have to try. We can’t just let her run away with it.

“She’s the athlete that she is right now, and the reality is she is gonna run away. But I think what you’re starting to see from Laura Muir, Ciara McGeean, myself, definitely the Ethiopian women … they’re not afraid to have a go. If it means our last 400 [metres] is pretty rough and pretty painful and not very glamorous it’s just a matter of like we had to take a chance and see what we could do.”

Hull was in the 1500m race in Italy in June when Kipyegon broke the world record. On that day in Florence, Hull and Laura Muir went with Kipyegon right to the final lap when the Kenyan pulled away. They were the only ones who could stick with her.

She expects the world championships final to be complete chaos.

“When there’s championships and tactics involved, anything can happen, and I think you have to believe that you have a chance. Otherwise, why are you lining up?” Hull said.

Brandon Starc qualified for the men’s high jump final on Wednesday morning (AEST).Credit: AP

“I would not be surprised if the Ethiopians went down that route of not necessarily boxing her in but just working really hard together to put a bit of a chaotic race together. That’s kind of been the trend from Ethiopian competitors over the last two years.

“It’s not very calculated. It’s very chaotic. And it just kind of disrupts the whole field. So I think [I] just [need to] be prepared for anything.”

Fellow Australian Abbey Caldwell, 22, ran a personal best 3:59.79 in a superb run in the toughest of semi-finals. Frustratingly, despite being in the much faster semi-final, Caldwell still missed the cut for the final because only the top six finishers in each semi advanced.

Caldwell ran 2.35 seconds quicker in finishing ninth in her semi-final than the winner of the first semi.

Australia’s national record holder Linden Hall, who battled illness on Saturday during her heat, finished eighth in the other semi-final in a time of 4:03.96.

In the men’s races, Adam Spencer trailed off to finish at the rear of the field in his semi-final with a time of 3:42.1, while Matthew Ramsden, who was promoted to the semi-final after winning a protest, ran 3:36.83.

In the high jump, Brandon Starc, – the former Commonwealth champion – made it into the finals when he cleared 2.28 metres. The final will start at 3.55am Wednesday Melbourne time.

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