Jessica Hull’s dream of a first major medal ended with an extraordinary first lap of the women’s 1,500m final at the World Championships in Athletics in Eugene, Oregon.
- Jessica Hull says the 1,500m pace means the event is “turning into the 800m”.
- Hull were pleased to have improved on their 11th place finish at the Olympics, finishing seventh here.
- Faith Kipyegon’s winning time was the 10th fastest in history.
The national record holder could only watch in awe as the leading group of four, including eventual gold medalist Faith Kipyegon, surged ahead to run the first lap in 55 seconds, faster than Hull’s personal best of 400m.
Hull held her ground to finish seventh in 4:01.82, before committing to go back to the drawing board with her trainer, Pete Julian, and come up with a plan to race Kipyegon.
With her gold medal-winning effort of 3:52.96, the Kenyan finished less than three seconds off the world record, while junior medalists Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia and Britain’s Laura Muir dipped under 3:56.
Kipyegon’s winning effort was the tenth fastest of all time, while the gap from third to fourth was a staggering six seconds.
“It’s like this event is becoming the 800 meters,” Hull said.
“My fastest 400 is way over 55 seconds.
“But, if I have to train to get below 60 in the first lap, then we’ll have to practice that.”
Hull were at least pleased with their significant improvement over last year’s Olympics, where they took a disappointing 11th place in the final, also won by Kipyegon.
“It’s about progression, which is the best thing about our sport,” he said.
“In Tokyo, I was four or five seconds slower in the final than in my semi-final, whereas tonight I matched what I did in the semi-final and got a top eight finish.
“So I’m getting more consistent, and with consistency comes big improvement.”
Hull will now turn his attention to the 5,000m heats on Thursday (AEST).
Fellow Australian Georgia Griffith was happy to finish ninth in 4:03.26 in her first major final.
“It was such a fast race and I was definitely feeling it after two rounds,” said the Victorian, who will drop the distance to the 800m for the Commonwealth Games next month.
“I tried to stay on it as best I could.”
Young Calab Law could hardly have been more impressive on his major championship debut, shaving 0.13 off his personal best with a time of 20.50 seconds to advance to the 200m semi-finals.
His teammate Aidan Murphy, 18, who, like Law, will head to Colombia for the World Junior Championships next week, was eliminated after clocking 20.75.
Defending world champion Noah Lyles led the qualifiers, with 19.98, just ahead of fellow American and teen sensation Erriyon Knighton, and Alexander Ogando of the Dominican Republic (20.01).
Jacinta Beecher (23.22) did well to finish third in her heat and advance to the semifinals of the women’s 200m, but fellow Australian Ella Connolly (23.27) was eliminated.
Niger’s Aminatou Seyni was the surprise fastest qualifier with 21.98.
Joel Baden (2.27m) was 10th in a men’s high jump final which was won by Qatari great Mutaz Essa Barshim.
Early Monday morning, Sarah Klein placed a creditable 14th in the women’s marathon with a PB of 2:30:10.