Dutch athlete shows superb finishing speed to win, while GB’s three 800m men advance
Sifan Hassan won the women’s world 10,000m title with the greatest extended finishing speed ever witnessed in a 25-lap race.
At the IAAF World Championships in Doha, she covered the last 1500m in an extraordinary 3:59.09.
The race was painfully slow for a lap but after a lap of 80.98, European under-23 champion Alina Reh picked up the pace to a more respectable 75.62, 74.80 and 74.68.
The opening kilometre was 3:13.86 but the second was 3:06.95, with Reh ahead on 6:20.81.
The 74/75-second lap pace continued through 3000m in 9:29.08 and the whole field of 19 was covered by three seconds.
Reh’s position as leader ended during the fourth kilometre as she began to slow to 76 seconds.
Rosemary Wanjiru then split the field up with laps of 72.08, 71.87, 72.10 and 72.55.
This 30-minute tempo reduced the medal contenders to seven – three Kenyans, three Ethiopians and Hassan.
The Dutch athlete was caught out by the change of pace and was a few seconds back for a few laps but gradually she closed up and sat at the back of the pack.
Wanjiru led through 4000m in 12:30.99, with Hassan on 12:33.40, and Agnes Tirop was ahead at 5000m (15:32.70) from Wanjiru (15:32.93), Senbere Teferi (15:33.12), reigning 5000m champion Hellen Obiri (15:33.39), Netsanet Gudeta (15:33.61), Letsenet Gidey (15:33.77) and Hassan (15:33.82).
Chasing was Japan’s Hitomi Niiya (15:37.95), while Emily Sisson (15:41.23) led a pack of Americans and Europeans which included Britain’s Steph Twell (12th, 15:41.99).
Reh was struggling and going back (15:45.39) and she dropped out dramatically clutching her stomach a few laps later before being taken off on a stretcher.
The laps dropped slightly to 73 seconds as Wanjiru led through 6000m (18:36.29) but Gudeta was off the back and it was down to six.
There was no real significant increase through 7000m as Obiri (21:39.89) went ahead but at 8000m world leader Gidey (24:44.89) went ahead and with four laps to go, changed pace dramatically.
The next lap was a sensational 64.91 and she followed that with a 65.33.
Through 9000m, Gidey – striding out beautifully – led in 27:37.22, five metres clear of Tirop (27:38.06) with Hassan (27:38.19) looking measured and in control just ahead of Obiri (27:38.35) with Wanjiru (27:41.02) clearly no longer a medal challenger.
The penultimate lap was a mere 66.16 as Hassan burst past just before the bell and began a long drive to the finish.
Briefly Gidey responded but Hassan blasted the next 200m in 29.80 and the race was over.
Her last lap was 61 seconds, her last 1000m 2:39, last 3000m 8:38 and second half 14:43 but it is the last 1500m which will astound all those waiting now to see whether Hassan runs the 1500m or 5000m later in the championships.
At 3:59.09, it was quicker than the last five world 1500m finals.
Hassan’s overall time was a world-leading 30:17.62, with Gidey second on 30:21.23 and Tirop leading the Kenyan challenge in 30:25.20 as Wanjiru (30:35.75) picked off a fading Obiri (30:35.82).
“What an incredible feeling. I could never have imagined how good this feels,” said Hassan. “It took a while for the race to really get going but as it passed by I got better and better. It was a difficult race but I remained calm and focused and I turned out to be the best today. I have matured over the years. I have a lot more focus now than before which really helped me today. I am just so happy.”
Back in seventh, Susan Krumins excelled to be top European-born athlete with seventh in 31:05.40 just ahead of top American Marielle Hall (31:05.71).
In 14th, Australian Sinead Diver broke Jo Pavey’s world over-40 record with 31:25.49. Pavey’s time was 31:33.44.
Twell found the final three kilometres hard and finished 15th in a respectable 31:44.79 as 11 of the first 14 set PBs.
“I am pleased,” said Twell. “It is my second-fastest 10km on the track.
“I would have liked to have gone quicker and with the group but I stuck to my task and I was really happy with that.
“I didn’t quite have the sharper legs that I used to have for the 1500m and 5km to be able to hold on to the pace and in four weeks’ time I have a marathon so I am in a very different preparation.”
Ajee’ Wilson and GB’s men advance in 800m
The women’s 800m semi-finals saw both Britons fail to qualify.
Raevyn Rogers controlled the opening semi, starting fast (26.89 at 200m), easing back to the bell (400m in 57.88), slowing even more through 600m (89.61), then reaccelerating to the line to win in 1:59.27 from Winnie Nanyondo’s 1:59.75.
Alex Bell was not too far back at 600m but lost ground on the bend as she lacked her usual kick and finished fifth in a non-qualifying 2:01.23.
The second semi saw event favourite Ajee’ Wilson employ similar tactics to Rogers with 200m splits of 27.51, 31.89, 31.11 and 29.80 and she won easily in 2:00.31. Rababe Arafi was second in 2:00.80.
European indoor champion Shelayna Oskan-Clarke was well placed but slightly boxed through 400m and 600m. She was third into the straight but was starting to fade when Hedda Hynde passed her on the inside and then she lost her balance 10 metres before the line and fell heavily. She got up to finish eighth in 2:10.89 but was already out of a qualifying position.
In the final heat, former world champion Eunice Sum tried a similar control role and led into the straight though faded in the last 50 metres and was easily overtaken by Ugandan Halimah Nakaai, who sprinted impressively to an easy win in 1:59.35 from Sum’s 2:00.10.
Nakaai though was boxed into the straight and clearly pushed Natoya Goule to get a clear run and the Jamaican lost her balance.
However, as Goule got through as a fastest loser anyway, the Ugandan was surprisingly allowed to go through to the final.
The men’s 800m heats saw six competitive races and qualification for all three Britons with Elliott Giles particularly impressive.
Donavan Brazier, a 1:42.70 man this year, won the opening heat with a strong finish in 1:46.04. European silver medallist Andreas Kramer was only fourth in a non-qualifying 1:46.74.
The second heat was won by world junior silver medallist Ngeno Kipngetich in 1:46.07. Close behind, Jamie Webb was well placed into the straight but had to fight hard to keep his third automatic qualifying place and his 1:46.23 just about held off USA’s Brannon Kidder’s 1:46.40 and fast finish.
The third heat saw Qatar’s Abubaker Haydar Abdalla set a furious pace of 24.30, 50.80 and 77.98 through 200m, 400m and 600m. Though he took a painful 14.49 for the last 100m and was overtaken by Canada’s 1:43.20 performer Brandon McBride, who won in 1:45.96, he finished in a clear qualifying spot of second in 1:46.11.
Defending champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse was third in 1:46.14.
The fourth heat saw Mark English run uncharacteristically from the front with 25.10 and 51.89 splits which gave him a good lead though he was fading at 600m and ended up struggling home seventh in 1:47.25.
It was close up front with Olympic fifth-placer Ferguson Cheruiyot narrowly winning in 1:45.98.
Adam Kszczot, the silver medallist of the last two championships, ran an unusually poor race for him and was only fifth in 1:46.20, despite the fastest last 100m of 12.89, though his time was good enough for a fastest losers spot.
The fifth heat was the fastest yet and won by 1:42.05 performer Emmanuel Korir in 1:45.16 from Mostafa Smali’s 1:45.27.
London 2017 fourth-placer Kyle Langford, not at his fittest, found the last 100 metres tough but his 1:46.14 fifth place was sufficient for a place by time.
The best British performance by far came at the end as Giles took control of the final heat on the second lap and led past 600m in 78.77 and he held his form well with a 26.76 final 200m to win in 1:45.53 and hold off 1:42 performers Clayton Murphy and Amel Tuka (who both ran 1:45.62) while Alvara de Arriba ran 1:45.67 in fourth to also nab a fastest losers spot.
World leader Nijel Amos, who has run 1:41.89 this year, failed to show for his heat after reportedly suffering an Achilles injury.
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