Sifan Hassan is in a league of her own. The Dutch star completed an unprecedented double after she cruised to victory in the 1,500 metres, to add to the 10,000m title she had won a week ago at the IAAF World Championships in Doha.
No woman or man had won 1500 and 10000 double before in the history of the World Championships or Olympics. But that was until Sifan put on a masterful run at the Khalifa International Stadium last night.
During the course of her stunning run, Sifan repeatedly looked behind to see how close her rivals where to her. But she didn’t have to bother as the 26-year-old was clearly way ahead before posting victory in a championships record time of 3:51.96 seconds.
Sifan’s dominance was such that defending champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya was a distant second in 3:54.22, with Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay in third in 3:54.38.
The winning time was the sixth-fastest 1500m run in history and just two seconds shy of the 3:50.07 world record set by Genzebe Dibaba in 2015. “This is amazing for me. This is such an honour,” said Sifan.
“I am showing what you can do with the hard work. It was amazing when I crossed the finish line and saw that time. I am so happy as this was a hard win for me. I felt very good after 10,000m so I decided to go for 1,500m. I have been working hard for 1,500m this season. It looked this was easy for me but it took so much hard work,” she added.
Sifan was the overwhelming favourite with Kipyegon, making a comeback from the birth of her first child, poised to give her a tough fight. But as it turned out, Sifan ran her own race, jumping onto the lead after 300m and never even ceded an inch as she stormed to the finish.
The men’s shot put final was no short of a world class as championships records tumbled like nine pins. In the end, American Joe Kovacs won arguably the greatest shot put competition in history with the joint-fourth-best throw of all time — 20.91 meters.
Kovacs’ victory margin over Rio Olympic champion Ryan Crouser and 2017 world champion Tom Walsh was a mere one centimetre. It was Kovacs’ second world title after he had won in 2015 in Beijing. He had won silver at the previous Olympics and Worlds. The 30-year-old’s winning throw came in his last attempt.
Joe Kovacs of the US celebrates winning gold in Men's Shot Put Final at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha
“It is a time to celebrate,” said Kovacs. “Coming to this competition, I was hoping for a new PR and then I saw Ryan throwing far, the others throwing far, I just cannot be happier to get the gold medal. This everyday hard work, it just paid off. This is definitely the final which made the history,” he added.
Defending champion Walsh had set the bar high in the final with his very first throw of 2.90m, which was the championship record, but Crouser also saved his best for last, matching New Zealander’s mark. Crouser walked away with silver ahead of Walsh, who had only one legal throw in the competition.
“It was an unbelievable competition with a lot of fireworks in the round six. This final was crazy and I am so happy to be part of. I am really happy with my season. Every meet except for one was over 22 metres, which is a standard for shot putting. I wanted gold but to see Joe (Kovacs) throw a personal best in the last throw, I can't complain,” Crouser said.
Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas won her second consecutive world title in the triple jump. The 23-year-old’s second jump of 15.37m was enough for her on the night to clinch the gold medal.
“It’s been a long and successful year,” said Rojas, who became the fourth back-to-back winner. “I came out to break the world record -- I tried in the first three rounds but then I felt tired and my legs didn’t respond as I wanted. But I am super happy and grateful.”
Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas celebrates winning the Women's Triple Jump final at the 2019 IAAF Athletics World Championships
Jamaican star Shaneika Ricketts, who upset Rojas to take the Diamond League title in Zurich in August, had to settle for silver with a jump of 14.92m jump. Veteran Catherine Ibarguen showed she still can compete with the best as the 35-year-old won bronze after leaping a distance of 14.73m.
Meanwhile, there were plenty of shocks in the qualifications of the 100m hurdles and javelin throw as the three Olympic champions were dumped out. Brittney Reese, long jump champion in 2012; Brianna McNeal, 100m hurdles champ in 2016; and Thomas Rohler, javelin king in 2016, all failed to progress to today’s final.
Reese was knocked from 12th to 13th place overall from the two groups of long jump qualifying. The American was only able to produce a best of 6.52m.
In the men’s javelin, Germany’s Thomas Rohler and 2018 Diamond League champion Andreas Hoffman failed to hit the 84m qualification mark, with only four of them earning the automatic entry. Hofmann could only muster 80.06m, while Rohler had a best of 79.23m. Their compatriot Johannes Vetter hurled the javelin at 89.35 and will be the overwhelming favourite to win the title.
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