Sifan Hassan wins in Brussels

Sifan Hassan

Brussels, Belgium – Rising Dutch-Ethiopian athlete Sifan Hassan won the women’s 6km race at the Iris Lotto Crosscup here today in a time of 19:38.

The race is the last IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting of 2013.

Today’s victory cemented the progress made by the youngster, who just two weeks ago won gold at the 2013 SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade.

Zewdnesh Ayele of Ethiopian came in second with Ireland’s 2011 and 2012 European cross country champion Fionnuala Britton, finishing third just one second behind. 

Local star Almensch Belete, who was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but currently represents Belgium, produced the best Belgian result in the two international races but was a distant fourth in 20:16.

Belete was the early leader after the first of four 1.5km laps with four women in her wake – Hassan, Ayele, Britton and Kenya’s Cynthia Kosgei – but Britton, who finished second in Brussels 12 months ago, stated to push the pace from the start of the second lap; Belete and Kosgei soon were struggling to hang on, drifting away from the leading trio by the halfway point.

Britton continued to lead for much of the second half of the race but was caught short of speed in the final few hundred metres.

“”It was a tough race,” reflected Hassan. “The course is really heavy but, as a 1500m runner I knew I had the speed to be the fastest at the end, so I did everything to stay up front and fortunately it worked.”

Hassan announced that her long term ambition is to double at the 1500m and 5000m at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Source: Ethiosports and IAAF

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