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Team USA’s Blankenship, Centrowitz advance to men’s 1500m final

Athletics - Olympics: Day 13

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 18: Dawit Wolde of Ethiopia, Ben Blankenship of the United States and Jakub Holusa of the Czech Republic compete in the Men’s 1500m Semifinal on Day 13 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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The men’s 1500 meter and women’s 800 meter races narrowed their fields down to 12 and eight competitors respectively Thursday night, with semifinal heats being run in both events. A total of three Americans advanced to the finals in those events, with two others failing to do so.

In the men’s 1500 Ben Blankenship and Matthew Centrowicz sealed their spots in the final, with Blankenship finishing fourth in his heat and Centrowicz third in his. However Robby Andrews was not as fortunate, as he was disqualified for having stepped off the track during his semifinal heat. Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop posted the fastest time, finishing in 3:39.73, and two of the three medalists from London advanced as well.

Reigning Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria finished in 3:39.88, and 2012 bronze medalist Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco was one of two competitors to advance on time as he finished in 3:40.11. Canada’s Nathan Brannen was the other to qualify based on time, as he finished in 3:40.20. The final of the 1500 is scheduled for Saturday night.

In the women’s 800 only one of the two Americans in the semifinals managed to advance. Kate Grace, the daughter of 1980’s fitness icon Kathy Smith, qualified for the final with a time of 1:58.79. However Ajee Wilson wasn’t as fortunate, as her time of 1:59.75 wasn’t good enough to go through to the eight-runner final. The final of the women’s 800 is scheduled for Saturday night shortly after the conclusion of the men’s 1500.