NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10- Olympic bronze medalist Margaret Nyairera carries Kenya’s hopes of a medal in the women’s 800m after sailing through to the semi-final of the two lap race winning her heat in a time of 2:00.75 ahead of Britain’s Lynsey Sharp.
Eunice Sum, the 2013 World Champion and bronze medalist from Beijing two years back, did not take part in the heats after pulling out late Thursday evening due to illness.
Kenya’s other representative Emily Cherotich could only come through sixth in her heat in a time of 2:02.70.
Nyairera looked strong and after sticking up in the middle of the pack in the first lap, she took on the pace after the bell, heading to the front and despite a surge from the chasing pack, she managed to stride through to the finish line with ease.
Uganda’s Halima Nakaayi finished third to earn an automatic qualification slot.
Cherotich, who was the first to go on the track in the second heat, had showed some decent promise of striding into the semis after running to the front at the bell, but a lack of proper finishing kick in the final 200m saw her drift away.
Canada’s Melissa Bishop, silver medalist from Beijing shot away from the pack at the home straight, followed closely by Poland’s Angelika Cichocka. Ultimately, it was the Pole who managed to cross the line first, clocking 2:00.86 which was a season’s best.
Bishop came in second with home girl Shelayna Oskan-Clarke coming third to pick an automatic qualification slot.
Olympic silver medalist Francis Niyonsaba of Burundi was the only one to dip under two minutes, picking the quickest qualifying time after winning her heat in a time of 1:59.86 ahead of Ethiopia’s Habitam Alemu.
Niyonsaba’s heat was the fastest and all the four fastest losers came through from there.
Olympic champion Caster Semenya from South Africa literally strolled to win her heat in 2:01.33 ahead of Cuba’s Rose Mary Almanza.