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Sifan Hassan smashes 10,000m world record

Photo 06-06-2021, 15 40 45 (1)

Dan Vernon

Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan broke a five-year-old world record in the 10,000m by 10.63 seconds, clocking 29:06.82 in Hengelo, Netherlands, on Sunday.

Hassan, the world champion in the 1500m and the 10,000m, took down Ethiopian Almaz Ayana‘s record of 29:17.45 from the 2016 Rio Olympics. Ayana chopped 14.33 seconds off a dubious world record from a Chinese runner in 1993.

All four men’s and women’s 5000m and 10,000m world records have been broken over the last 10 months. Runners have benefited from technology -- new spikes and pacing lights on the track.

Hassan, who fled from Ethiopia for the Netherlands at age 16 as a refugee, now owns world records for the mile, 5km (women’s only), one hour run and the 10,000m.

“Wow to run this world record here today in Hengelo is something I could only dream of,” Hassan said, according to a press release. “It’s the perfect confirmation of the hard work we’ve put in getting ready for Tokyo.”

She said before the Hengelo meet that she will probably run the 5000m and the 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympics. The 5000m final is on Aug. 2. The 10,000m is Aug. 7. The 1500m final is Aug. 6.

Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba is the lone woman to win Olympic 5000m and the 10,000m titles, taking both in 2008 and the 10,000m again in 2012.

Hassan made her Olympic debut in 2016, placing fifth in the 1500m and bowing out in the 800m heats.

In 2019 in Doha, Hassan became the first runner to sweep the 1500m and 10,000m at a world championships. She did it days after her coach, Alberto Salazar, was banned four years in a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency case.

Hassan was vehement that she was a clean athlete and believed in Salazar. Hassan noted that she was atop the world rankings in the 1500m as far back as 2014, two years before she joined Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project. She also said she knew Salazar was under investigation when she joined the group, but she never saw proof of wrongdoing.

Ayana, 29, has raced once on the track since winning the 2017 World 10,000m title. She withdrew before the 2019 Worlds after undergoing surgery on both knees in July 2018, according to World Athletics.

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