Justin Lagat is writing a piece a day from Kenya on the WC in Doha. This is his second feature and it is focused on Sifan Hassan, the winner of the 10,000m.
Sifan Hassan just showed her resolve to make history after winning the women 10,000m final, the first of the 3 events she will be aiming to win at this year’s world championships in Doha. She now remains with the 5,000m and the 1500m races and the remaining races should definitely be easier for her than the 10,000m race given that she is ranked as world number one in both distance and she is as well the IAAF Diamond League Trophy winner in both.
It was a hotly contested 10,000m race in which most of the runners recorded their personal best times despite the not so ideal conditions for fast times in Doha.
Agnes Tirop had momentarily moved to the front just after the gun, but then relaxed back into a position just behind a few other runners. Probably, she was trying to find a comfortable place to stay throughout. The other main protagonists remained behind the field. Sifan Hassan was third from behind while Letesenbet Gidey was the last one at the back.
It was a progressive run starting from an average of 3:13 per km in the first Kilometer, building up into and 3:06 per km in the second one before the three Kenyans took to the front after Alina Reh of Germany had done much of the early pacing, and made it a real race.
At around the 3000m point, Wanjiru slowly moved towards the front and her teammates followed. The rest of the field reacted and soon there was a group of six at the front. At first, it was three Ethiopians and three Kenyans while Hassan who seemed to have been caught off-guard by the move was slowly trying to get attached to the group.
Wanjiru increased the pace again at around the 5600m point and one of the Ethiopian athletes, Gudeta began to drop behind. A group of six remained at the front; three Kenyans, two Ethiopians, and one Dutch.
Gidey sprang forward with about three laps to go, but she could not easily shake off her competitors despite the long sprint. Sifan Hassan caught up with her just at the bell and for a while, she tried to hold off Hassan from overtaking her but without success. Hassan took to the front and continued opening up a gap against her till she crossed the finish line in a world-leading time of 30:17.62. Gidey was second in 30:21.23 while Agnes Tirop won the bronze medal in 30:25.20.
The other distance events of the day included the men’s 800m heats in which Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir ran the fastest time of the day to win the 5th heat in 1:45.16. Two other Kenyans won in their respective heats as well, but it is still too early to tell who the main contenders in the finals will be given that the runners will still need to go through the semi-finals before reaching the finals.
After today’s women 800m semi-finals, three US athletes led by Ajee Wilson will be in the finals on Monday 30th, together with two Ugandans, one Kenyan, one Morrocan and one Jamaican.