A week after running the last 1500 metres of the 10,000m in under four minutes, Sifan Hassan smashed the European record at this distance, which dates back to 1980, with 3:51.95 to win her second gold medal of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha and complete a historic 1500/10,000m double.
“I felt very good after the 10km so I decided to go for the 1500m” said Hassan, who would have started as the favourite for the 5000m final which also took place tonight. “I’ve been working hard at 1500m this year. It looked easy but for me it took so much hard work.”
Hassan usually likes to bide her time and work her way into the race but the Dutchwoman took up the running on the first lap, making the final a test of endurance and staying power rather than tactics and finishing speed.
Hassan powered through 400m in 63.53 and then 800m in 2:05.95. She reached the 1200m mark in a supremely fast 3:07.41 with seven runners improbably still in contention for the medals. But no sort of racing schedule seems to tire the formidable and versatile Hassan who was able to withstand the pressure of leading nearly all the way to kick away from the pack, winning gold in a European record of 3:51.95 and leading the greatest set of results ever seen in an international race.
Reigning world and Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon from Kenya took more than two-and-a-half seconds off her lifetime best but could only come away with silver in 3:54.22, her first defeat in a significant race since the IAAF World Championships in Beijing four years ago. Kipyegon had to be helped away from the track and needed assistance mounting the rostrum after sustaining a leg injury.
Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay also shattered her lifetime best with 3:54.38 to win bronze ahead of Shelby Houlihan who smashed the American record with 3:54.99 in fourth. Double European indoor champion Laura Muir was an injury doubt prior to Doha but the Brit – much to her surprise – was almost back to her best after a recent calf injury, finishing fifth in 3:55.76 to just miss her three-year-old British record.
“I never thought I was in that sort of shape,” said Muir. “So to do that off that training gives me confidence to know that when 100 percent – well how fast can I go?”
With Hassan absent from the 5000m, Kenya’s Hellen Obiri battled to a successful defence of her 5000m title in a championship record of 14:26.72. Obiri produced a last lap of 58.4 to hold off Margaret Kipkemboi in 14:27.49 with German record-holder Konstanze Klosterhalfen holding on to win the bronze in 14:28.43, the first senior medal of her career.
“My spikes are broken and I am bleeding but it does not matter at the end of the season,” said Klosterhalfen. “It was a rough race.”
Mixed fortunes for Germany’s field event stars in field event qualifying
European champion Malaika Mihambo begins as the resounding favourite to add the world title in the long jump to her growing list of accolades. Mihambo is unbeaten outdoors this year and the German looked mightily impressive in booking her place in the final, reaching the sand at 6.98m despite giving away 24 centimetres off the board.
“It was not very difficult for me to qualify with my first attempt given the level of 7.20m I have at the moment,” said Mihambo. “There might be a lot of pressure and a lot of expectations but I simply block them out.”
The Germans have won the last three major titles in the javelin but their contingent of four throwers had mixed fortunes in qualifying. Reigning world champion Johannes Vetter looks to be near his best again after a succession of injuries this season, leading the two pools with his first and only throw of qualifying which was registered at 89.35m.
Vetter will be joined in tomorrow night’s final by Julian Weber who threw 84.29m but reigning Olympic and European champion Thomas Rohler and European bronze medallist Andreas Hofmann were both some way adrift of their best form and didn’t reach the final with marks of 79.23m and 80.06m respectively.
World leader Magnus Kirt from Estonia came within a metre of Vetter’s leading mark from the first pool with 88.36m on his second attempt. Hungary’s Norbert Rivasz-Toth also set a national record of 83.42m to reach the final.