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Stafford sisters qualify for semis in the 1,500m

Gabriela Debues-Stafford won her heat in 4:03.70, while her younger sister Lucia Stafford ran to a personal best 4:03.52 for the fastest non-automatic qualifying time of the day

Day five of the track and field portion of the Olympic Games kicked off with the first round of the women’s 1,500m, and Canada’s Gabriela Debues-Stafford and Lucia Stafford both qualified out of their heats to move on to the semifinals. Debues-Stafford won her heat in 4:03.70 to automatically move on, and her younger sister ran an incredible race, finishing in a new personal best of 4:03.52 for the fastest non-auto qualifying time of the morning.

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Debues-Stafford was the first Canadian to take to the track, and she started off strong, winning her heat to automatically qualify for the semifinals. She crossed the line in 4:03.70 ahead of the U.K.’s Laura Muir in 4:03.89 and Kenya’s Winny Chebet in 4:03.93.

The second heat saw Canada’s Natalia Hawthorn toe the line against several world-class athletes, including Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, who’s attempting a historic 1,500m, 5,000m, 10,000m triple. Coming down the straightaway for the bell lap, some jostling took place among the pack, and Hawthorn nearly tripped. She managed to stay on her feet, but it was Hassan who fell to the ground, jeopardizing her chances at the triple crown. The Dutch runner quickly got back on her feet and charged around the track, working her way back up through the pack to win the heat in 4:05.17, automatically qualifying for the next round. Jessica Hull of Australia and Elle Purrier of the U.K. were close behind in second and third, but Hawthorn was unable to keep up with the front group, finishing 10th in 4:08.04, which wasn’t enough to qualify through.

RELATED: Sifan Hassan to attempt the 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m triple

Finally, it was the younger Stafford sister who shone in the last heat. The race started out quickly, led by 2016 Olympic champion in the event, Faith Kipyegonbut Stafford managed to stay in touch with the lead pack throughout the entire race. She crossed the line in a new personal best of 4:03.52, the fastest non-automatic qualifier of the day. Kipyegon had the fastest time of the day in 4:01.40, followed by Winnie Nanyondo of Uganda in 4:02.24 and Australia’s Linden Hall in 4:02.27.

The 1,500m semi-finals will take place on Wednesday evening (Aug. 4) in Tokyo, Wednesday morning in Canada.

Other notable results from the morning of day five on the track include Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel who won her heat of the women’s 200m in 22.74 seconds to qualify for the semi-finals, and Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn who won the gold medal in the women’s 100m hurdles in 12.37. Silver went to the U.S.A.’s Kendra Harrison in 12.52 and Jamaica’s Megan Tapper won bronze in 12.55, the first time Jamaica has ever won a medal in the sprint hurdles.

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