Ethiopian world record holder Genzebe Dibaba qualified for the women’s 1,500 metres final with the fastest time on Sunday, comfortably winning her heat in four minutes 3.06 seconds to justify her tag as favourite for Olympic gold.
Dibaba stormed clear of the field at the bell in the second semi-final, with the top five runners in both races advancing, and eased down on the home straight to finish ahead of Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands and Britain’s Laura Muir.
Kenya’s Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon won the first semi-final in 4:03.95 on a day when a majority of the 10 qualifiers for Tuesday’s final were trying not to exert themselves and advance with the minimum of fuss.
After setting a new world record of 3:50.07 in Monaco and winning the world 1500m title in Beijing last year, Dibaba has had a mixed 2016 campaign and arrived in Rio carrying a niggling toe injury.
Adding to the her troubles, Dibaba’s coach was arrested in Spain on doping charges just weeks before the Olympics.