Ballarat’s Collis Birmingham has progressed to the men’s 3000m final as one of the next four fastest qualifiers after finishing sixth in heat one in 7:45.15 at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland.
Birmingham competing in his maiden IAAF World Indoor Championships was in the slower of the two heats which was won by 2012 3000m world indoor silver medalist Augustine Kiprono Choge in 7.44.85.
Kenya’s 21-year-old rising star Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku topped the heats standards with a time of 7:42.75.
The two-time Olympian’s time was enough to finish 12th fastest overall and Birmingham will now mix it with some of the worlds best in tomorrow morning’s final at 2.10am AEST.
Enjoyed my first run on the boards. Glad I get to go round again in 2 days! Thanks for the pre race laughs @AndyVernonGB, great run!
— Collis Birmingham (@cjbirmingham) March 7, 2014
In one of the headline events at this year’s world indoor championships, current Australian 10000m champion Birmingham will line be up against defending champion Bernard Lagat.
A world champion over 1500m and 5000m, Olympic silver medalist in the 1500m at the 2004 Olympic Games and three-time 3000m world indoor champion Lagat will be out to break his own record of the oldest ever male to win at a world indoor championships.
At the tender age of 39 Lagat and Birmingham might not have Olympic champion Mo Farah to contend with in Sopot but Choge, 2012 Olympic silver medalists Galen Rupp (10000m) and Dejen Gebremeskel (5000m) will be there abouts at the business end of the race.
Ethiopian Hagos Gerbhiwet will also be one to keep an eye on; the 19-year-old was one of the highlights at last years Moscow world championships, claiming silver in the 5000m behind Farah by passing the three Kenyans Isiah Koech, Thomas Longosiwa and Edwin Soi in the final stages of the race.
Birmingham will follow in the footsteps of fellow Victorian Craig Mottram who featured in the close finishing 2012 final in Istanbul, Turkey that had the first four split by only 0.16 seconds.
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Istanbul 2012 3000m Men Final finish: