Sifan Hassan completes historic Tokyo medal treble with 10,000m gold

Dutchwoman overcomes challenge from Letesenbet Gidey for third medal of Games

The Netherlands' Sifan Hassan fulfilled her dream of completing a Tokyo Olympics treble as she clinched gold in the women's 10,000 metres on Saturday.

It was the Ethiopian-born Dutch runner's second title and third medal at the Games, after she won the 5,000m title and secured bronze in the 1,500m. Hassan is only the second woman in Olympic history to win medals in three different individual track events at the same Games. It was first achieved by Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia at the 1952 Helsinki Games.

Despite running three races in the last few days, Hassan raised the bar once again before the final turn to surge past world-record holder Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia and cross the line in 29:55.32.

Bahrain's Kalkidan Gezahegne, also Ethiopian-born, found another gear towards the closing stages to grab the silver medal with Gidey picking up the bronze medal after leading the race from the seventh lap.

The women's 10,000m was one of the most highly-anticipated events of the Games with the event's all-time top two athletes going head-to-head on the Olympic Stadium track. Hassan is the world champion over 1,500m and 10,000m, while Gidey holds the world record in 5,000m.

After bronze in Friday's 1500m, Hassan was at it again just 24 hours later in hot and humid conditions in Tokyo.

With heats and semi-finals as well, it meant Hassan was in action on five days of the nine-day schedule of track and field, including competing in a 1500m heat on the same day as the 5,000m final.

Gidey was in second behind early pace setter Ririka Hironaka of Japan, with Hassan close behind.

The Ethiopian potentially lost an ally as teammate Tsigie Gebreseslama pulled up injured after just two laps. With 18 laps to run, Gidey moved to the front, followed by the Kenyans as the lead pack was cut to 12.

Four laps later, Gidey upped the pace and soon only Kenya's 5,000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri and Irine Cheptai, Hassan and Gezahegne could cope with the Ethiopian's pace.

Moving into the final 10 laps, Cheptai had been dropped, leaving a clear four-way battle.

Obiri started to struggle and then it was down to three, Gidey looking in control.

At the bell that signalled the last lap, Gidey kicked, Hassan and Gezahegne quickly prepared for a counter-attack.

Hassan then swept past Gidey at the 150-metre mark. Hassan ensured she made no mistake, producing a dazzling sprint away from the Bahraini, arms raised in glory as she crossed the line to claim her second gold of the Games.

Obiri finished fourth, with Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba, who won Olympic 800m silver in Rio, in fifth.

Updated: August 7th 2021, 12:38 PM
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