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Dutch Disaster: Sifan Hassan, Femke Bol fall meters from gold medals at track worlds

BUDAPEST — It could have been the best night in Dutch history at the world track and field championships. Instead?

“Maybe it’s national fall down day,” Sifan Hassan joked.

Hassan and Femke Bol, the Netherlands’ two biggest track stars, fell to the track while leading the two finals on the first night of worlds. The Dutch have never won two golds in one day.

First, Hassan said she lost her balance with about 25 meters left of the 10,000m final while trying to hold off Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay.

TRACK AND FIELD WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Hassan, who was born in Ethiopia and came to the Netherlands as a 15-year-old refugee in 2008, scraped her elbow and knee as Tsegay passed her to lead an Ethiopian medals sweep.

Hassan said the fall was not the result of any tiredness from running a 1500m first-round heat about six and a half hours earlier. She noted what happened at the Tokyo Olympics: she fell in her 1500m first-round heat, got back up to win it that morning and then won the 5000m later that night.

Tsegay, meanwhile, said after her victory that she wants to copy Hassan and run the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Over the last two worlds, Tsegay now has 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m silver.

Hassan took two golds and one bronze in those distances in Tokyo, becoming the second woman to win medals in three individual track races at one Olympics.

About a half-hour after Hassan’s fall, Bol ran out of gas and dove to the track, the baton flying out of her hand, with less than 10 meters left of the mixed-gender 4x400m relay.

One second later, U.S. anchor Alexis Holmes, who had drawn nearly even with Bol, crossed the finish line in world record time. Bol got up to cross in third place, but without the baton, so the Dutch were given a DNF.

“The last meters I want to go, and of course you get lactic,” Bol said. “I just couldn’t get my strength like I normally do. I think I cramped up when I felt someone next to me. Then I was on the ground.”

Bol took Tokyo Olympic bronze and 2022 World silver in the 400m hurdles behind American Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, who switched to the flat 400m this season (and scratched out of worlds due to a minor knee issue).

On July 23, Bol ran the third-fastest 400m hurdles in history to enter worlds as a prohibitive favorite in that event. Like Hassan, she will get another chance to make it all the way to the finish line in Budapest.

“I feel great. Today I didn’t show it,” Bol said. “I would like my revenge.”

Last-second fall hands USA mixed 4x400 relay gold
Femke Bol had the edge for the Netherlands in the mixed 4x400 relay at the World Track and Field Championships but lost her footing in the final stretch, handing Team USA the gold and a world record.