Relief for Josh Kerr as Team GB star qualifies as fastest loser after running out of gas in 1500m heats, while Jake Wightman and Jake Heyward are also progressing… while favorite Marcin Lewandowski in heat 2 under slippery conditions in Tokyo falls down
Josh Kerr had to wait nervously in the 1500m heats when the British star saw automatic qualifying from him at the finish line in Tokyo.
The Briton took the first moto along with reigning world champion Timothy Cheruiyot on Tuesday into the first moto, with the athletes entering a slippery track in a wet Japan.
Kerr – who trains in the United States – seemed to hold his own, leading the pack alongside Cheruiyot. However, in the last 50 meters he ran out of gas and was knocked over the line, with only the top six in qualifying.
It was a relief for Josh Kerr after the British runner advanced to the semi-finals of the men’s 1500 meters
The Team GB star ran out of gas and was tapped across the finish line in Tuesday’s first heat
He can still qualify for the semi-finals as the fastest loser and will hold his breath as the next two motos take place today.
“It was bad everywhere. I was in the middle of the case, made a big step with 500 to go, which in hindsight wasn’t the smartest,” he told the BBC. “Waiting for the next 10, 15 minutes is a bit hard and hopefully I can scratch through it, but it really wasn’t good enough.
“I felt good, sometimes heats just don’t go to plan, running that slow is hard sometimes. I knew I was in trouble with 100 to go and I was scraping, that’s racing and I’m putting myself in that position, so I can’t be annoyed.”
1500m favorite Marcin Lewandowski fell in slippery conditions but qualified anyway
Briton Jake Wightman sailed on into a thrilling second moto, with two falling on the last lap this morning in slippery conditions in Heat 2.
Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski – a serious medal contender – fell under a crowded peloton. Lewandowski failed to get back to the front but did finish the race, with the Pole stepping up after an appeal to the race referee.
Moroccan Anass Essayi also fell to the ground, but did not recover and was knocked out by the heat.
Great Britain’s Jake Wightman (L) and Jake Heyward (R) also qualified for the semi-finals
“You’ve got to be prepared to run wide, because as you saw, there were a few waterfalls there,” Wightman said. ‘You underestimate how hot it is going to get here. I’m glad the next race will be in the evening.
“I feel like I’m going to be in my best shape here this season, but it’s about getting to the final first.”
Jake Heyward advanced to the semi-finals with Wightman after leading the third moto with Australian Stewart McSweyn.
Kerr was one of the fastest losers through the times of the three heats, securing his qualification to the semi-finals.