Jake Wightman and Jake Heyward progress in Olympic heats while Josh Kerr squeezes through as we bring you qualifying news from Tuesday morning in Tokyo
All three Britons advanced in the 1500m heats. It was plain sailing for the Jakes – Wightman and Heyward – but Josh Kerr only progressed as one of the fastest losers.
In heat one Belgium’s Ismael Debjani won to be fastest overall in 3:36.00 with a 53.4 last lap, just ahead of world champion Timothy Cheruiyot (3:36.01), Oliver Hoare (3:36.09), US trials winner Cole Hocker (3:36.16), Abdelatif Sadiki (3:36.23) and Michal Rozmys (3:36.28) who qualified automatically.
Rozmys had been six tenths of a second behind Kerr as he hit the straight but ran a 12.9 last 100m to the Scot’s 13.5 to catch him on the line, meaning the British champion missed out on automatic qualification by one hundredth of a second as he struggled in the closing stages.
Kerr said: “I was really frustrated with my positioning and there was some shoving and I made a hard move at 500m to go. Then, at 200m to go, I felt I was going to pay for this in the home stretch. I was just trying to stay focused and push all the way, but it just wasn’t a good run for me. I am fit and ready and I have had no problems. There are just no excuses for that. I just raced it badly.”
Kerr must have been relieved as heat two was run at nowhere near the same pace. The field ambled through 400m in 62.4 and 800m in 2:02.9, only really coming to life on the last lap as Kenyan Abel Kipsang covered it in 52.8 to win in 3:40.68.
Second was defending champion Matt Centrowitz (3:41.12), just ahead of Wightman (3:41.18) who ran his last 400m in 53.2 and 200m in 26.3. Also qualifying easily were Azeddine Habz (3:41.24), Samuel Zeleke (3:41.63) and Charles Grethen (3:41.92).
Marcin Lewandowski fell on the last lap and he jogged home but was added to the qualifiers by the judges after the event.
Wightman said: “It’s the most nerve-racking round, isn’t it? You’re worried you’re going to be embarrassed. I’m glad I managed to stay on my feet and get through. I had a smooth enough ride. I think I got a spike wound, had a few pushes but there was the fall which I’m glad I didn’t even notice until the end.
“The heats are the worst, because you’ve come all this way and no-one wants to get knocked out in the heat or expects to get knocked out in the heat, so you just want to get past and know how you are running to get through to the semi-final.”
The third heat was faster but, with six fastest loser spots, it did mean there would have to be 12 quicker than 3:36.29 for Kerr to exit and, in the end, there were only two.
The first lap was a slow 61.7 before Stewart McSweyn kicked on. The Australian completed the second lap in a lively 56.9 and the third in a top class 55.1, with only Heyward still in contact as the pair went through 1200m in 2:53.7 and 2:53.9, holding a big gap over the pack led by Robert Farken in 2:55.1.
Heyward passed McSweyn in the straight and won clearly in 3:36.14, having eased around his last lap in 55.9 and covered his last 1200m inside 2:50. Ethiopia’s Tedesse Lemi, who had been 12th at the bell, ran a 53.9 last lap to finish second in 3:36.26 and he had covered his last 1200m in 2:48.9.
McSweyn (3:36.39), Jakob Ingebrigtsen (an anonymous 3:36.49), Farken (3:36.71) and Adel Mechaal (3:36.74) completed the automatic qualifiers.
Double Olympic medallist Nick Willis (3:36.88), Andrew Coscoran (3:37.11), Ayanleh Souleiman (3:37.25) and Kenyan trials winner Charles Simotwo (3:37.26) qualified by time as they joined Kerr and Ignacio Fontes (3:36.95) as fastest losers.
Soufiane El Bakkali, who won the 3000m steeplechase title the previous day, was in contention until 200m to go but pulled out.
Heyward said: “I don’t think it could have gone much better. Safely through, that’s the main thing. You have to have a few scenarios, you have to be versatile. It could be fast, could be slow, so you’ve got to be ready for that. I think I always give my best performances in championships and I hope that showed a glimpse of what I can do.
“You can’t take anything for granted at the Olympics, you’ve got to be prepared for anything, and I was prepared to run super hard today, so that was my mindset going in. Luckily because I didn’t have to run that hard it felt quite comfortable, so it was good.”
Paulino, Miller-Uibo and Felix lead 400m qualifiers
Marileidy Paulino of Dominican Republic was quickest in the women’s 400m heats as she ran 50.06 in the sixth and final race of the qualifying round. The 24-year-old was part of the team that won silver in the mixed relay at these Games and in her heat she was close to her PB of 49.99 despite easing down in the final metres.
The opening heat was won by Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the reigning champion, with 50.50 – the second-fastest time of the round. Roxana Gomez of Cuba was next best with 50.76 from Miller-Uibo’s heat, with six-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix of the United States winning her heat in 50.84.
There were mixed results for the Britons. Jodie Williams won her heat with 50.99 and Ama Pipi earned qualification for the semi-finals with 51.19 for fourth in her heat.
Nicole Yeargin was disqualified, however, for a lane infringement after finishing third in her heat.
Pichardo leads triple jump qualifiers
Ben Williams failed to advance from the triple jump qualifying as his 16.30m (-0.9) leap left him 22nd and ultimately 63 centimetres short of making the top 12.
Portugal’s world leader Pedro Pichardo, the double world championships medallist, staked his claim as being the big favourite as he jumped a massive 17.71m (0.2).
Turkey’s Necati Er was the best of the rest with 17.13m. Most of the major contenders got through unscathed but world indoor record-holder and joint favourite Hugues Fabrice Zango scraped in with only the 12th-best mark of 16.83/0.4 which only advanced him by five centimetres.
Williams said: “I am just heartbroken. The body feels great, and the mind is right, and it just didn’t click today. We had surgery in November and the recovery from that wasn’t quite as fast, so we didn’t actually get into triple jumping until quite a while after and that showed in the runway and in my technical approach going into today.
“I think I am more than capable of making an Olympic final. If you told me beforehand that 16.83m would have made the final I would have snapped at the chance. It’s not out of the realms of possibility for me at the minute. I put myself on the back foot straight away with getting a no jump in round one and that sort of mirrors my whole season.
“It’s heartbreaking, because if they had all gone out there and jumped 17.30m, then that is an easier pill to swallow. I want to be making finals. I think I am more than capable to do that and I don’t want to just keep making teams and not making finals. We will sit down and see if my body holds up enough to carry on.”
No Brits make it past 200m heats as Gemili suffers injury
Britain’s misfortunes in the Tokyo sprints events continued as none of the nation’s competitors progressed from the men’s 200m heats, with Adam Gemili suffering a hamstring tear in his warm-up ahead of heat three.
The 17-year-old world junior record-holder Erriyon Knighton ambled through to win the race in 20.55/-0.6 from Alonso Edwards’ 20.60, and though Gemili put himself on the starting blocks he pulled up immediately before walking across the line in 1:58.58.
The distraught Briton said: “The last run, literally the last run before I came into the call room, the last blocks start and I felt it go. It’s my hamstring. I had to try but I’m in so much pain right now – I said to my physio, ‘just strap it up and let me at least try to push out’ but I can tell straight away. You don’t just cramp up when you sprint, it was a tear. I can’t believe this has happened.”
Jamaican Rasheed Dwyer won the opening heat of the men’s 200m 20.31/-0.3 from Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru’s 20.36.
Jereem Richards won heat two in 20.52 while the third heat went the way of Nigerian Femi Ogunode in 20.37/-0.6 ahead of former world champion Ramil Guliyev’s 20.54 and multi Olympic medallist Andre de Grasse’s 20.56.
Canadian Aaron Brown won heat five in 20.38/-0.7 from teenager NCAA champion Joseph Fahnbulleh who ran 20.46.
American Kenny Bednarek won heat seven in the day’s fastest time of 20.01/-0.4 from Yancarlos Martinez’s Dominican record of 20.17.
Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake was well back in fifth but his time of 20.56 did temporarily put him in a fastest loser spot.
He said: “It wasn’t enough to get through today and unfortunately I won’t be able to progress and I will ask more from myself in the future. It was a season’s best time, but you have to take that with a grain of salt and understand that I am moving forwards, just a little slower than I want to.
“I’m just going to keep training and remain sharp and keep my mind in the game and, if called upon, go forward with the relay.”
In the final heat world champion Noah Lyles won in 20.18 from Sibusiso Matsenjwa’s Swaziland record of 20.34. The latter had got a second chance having been disqualified from an earlier heat.
The times of Clarence Munyai (20.49) and Ireland’s Leon Reid (20.53) meant Mitchell-Blake would not make the semi-finals. Reid qualified by two thousandths of a second.
Andrejczyk leads javelin qualifiers
In javelin qualifying the world No.1 Maria Andrejczyk of Poland qualified for Friday’s final in swift and businesslike fashion with her opening throw of 65.24m.
Maggie Malone of the United States was next best of the qualifiers with 63.07m followed by Kelsey-Lee Barber of Australia with 62.59m.
Barbora Špotáková, the world record-holder and two-time Olympic champion, was the main casualty, though, as the 40-year-old Czech thrower managed only 60.52m and will miss out on the final.
Sara Kolak, the 2016 Olympic champion from Croatia, will also be unable to defend her title in the final after failing to register a throw.