Portland, Oregon – Ethiopian-born Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands claimed her first global title in commanding style on Saturday night, the 23-year-old seizing control of the women’s 1500m final with less than three laps to run and refusing to be passed thereafter to win in 4:04.96.
Hassan was followed home by Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum and Gudaf Tsegay, who ran 4:04.96 and 4:05.71 respectively to round out the podium.
It was a cautious, casual start to the race when the nine runners were sent on their way inside a packed Oregon Convention Center, with Australia’s Melissa Duncan the only one willing to take up pacing duties.
The rest of the field were content to let her go as she passed 400m in a steady 65.87, and then 800m in 2:12.71. At that point, Hassan was running in the pack, but she soon recognised the danger and began to lead the chase. With 500m to run, she had reeled in Duncan, and with a trio of Ethiopians running in her slipstream, Hassan slowly began to move through the gears at the front.
With 300m to run, she slowly squeezed the pace once again, clocking a 30.52-second lap, which left her with just Seyaum in her slipstream as she rounded the final turn. Try as she might, the Ethiopian just couldn’t get past, and Hassan threw her arms in the air at the line to celebrate her first global title.
“I had a lot of confidence going into the race,” said Hassan. “My training has been very good, and the last 100 was very quick.”
Indeed it was, and Hassan’s final 100 was clocked at 15.18 seconds, her final 300 at 45.70. With that kind of finish in her armoury, no one was likely to beat her tonight, and so it proved.