Sifan Hassan wins the 10,000m at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 (© Getty Images)
Running in only her second 10,000m race, Sifan Hassan repelled all the opposition could throw at her to land her maiden world outdoor title in a barnstorming final.
The Dutch distance queen, who earlier this year set a world mile record, gave another demonstration of her astonishing versatility to destroy the brave Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey with a 61-second final lap to strike gold in a Dutch record 30:17.33.
Behind, Gidey delighted the vibrant and vociferous Ethiopian fans inside the Khalifa International Stadium to take a richly deserved silver having launched a brave winning bid for gold with four laps to go.
Agnes Tirop claimed a second successive world bronze as the podium dwellers all claimed personal best performances.
Yet this was Hassan’s night as the 26-year-old added 10,000m gold to her Wolrd Championship 1500m and 5000m bronze medals snared at the 2015 and 2017 editions, respectively.
The first 3km of the first track final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 was largely uneventful as the main
protagonists were happy to bide their time towards the back of the field as German Alina Reh took the field through 3000 metres in 9:29.69.
Within a lap, however, Kenya’s Rosemary Wanjiru unleashed the first significant move of the race dashing to the front and taking with her a train of Africans in pursuit.
By 4km a huge split had occurred with Wanjiru leading from her fellow Kenyans - Hellen Obiri and Tirop – followed by the Ethiopian trio of Gidey, Netsanet Gudeta and Senbere Teferi. Hassan was a little more patient in her approach taking a lap or so to latch on to a lead group now containing seven athletes.
The race then settled down into a familiar pattern, as the Kenyans each took a turn to set the pace. Just beyond half distance - reached in 15:32:70 - Gudeta was the first to crack and slipped off the back of the lead pack.
The lead group of six remained constant until Gidey quickly accelerated to the front in the final mile and cracked upon the race like a sledgehammer to a nut. Cheered on by the ecstatic home fans – and using the strength and endurance which took her to World Cross Country bronze in March - she opened up a gap on the chasing Tirop, Hassan and Obiri. Gidey’s pace increase was so dramatic, Teferi and Wanjiru medal challenge quickly evaporated.
With two laps remaining the smooth-running Gidey held a 10-metre advantage on the pursuing Hassan and Tirop. Obiri was a further 10 metres back on the athletes in provisional silver and bronze and fading quickly out of the podium picture.
Hassan, however, remained unfazed and unflustered. Inch by inch stride by stride she reeled in Gidey and on the crown of the bend on the penultimate lap eased into the immediate slipstream of the Ethiopian.
At the bell Hassan seized control, launched her vicious kick to sprint ahead of Gidey and on to victory in what was the third fastest winning mark in the history of the championships.
The courageous Gidey had the satisfaction of winning silver in a personal best 30:21.23 with Tirop securing back-to-back bronze medals in a personal best 30:25.20. Behind, Wanjiru overhauled the fading Obiri to take fourth in 30:35.75.
In a measure of the quality of the race, the second half was completed in 14:45 after a first half of 15:32.
The US-based Hassan, who made her 10,000m debut in Stanford in May recording 31:18.12, said: “I am very happy because I have been a middle distance runner and this was a test for me. It was okay at the beginning but then when they were kicking at the front I had to try hard to keep in touch. I know I am more of a 1500m and 5km runner, so if I could get close I would have enough to win. She (Gidey) kept trying to kick but in the last 800m I knew I had it.”
Hassan will decide with her coach whether to opt for the 1500m or the 5000m. Whichever event she enters she will be on odds on favourite for gold.
Steve Landells for the IAAF