Shocker! Sifan Hassan falls near the finish, Ethiopians sweep the 10,000 meters at the World Championships

The World Athletics Championships is the most important meet of the year for most elite track and field athletes. From August 19 to August 27, the best from across the globe will compete for medals and titles during a thrilling nine days in Budapest, Hungary.

Sifan Hassan had gold in her sights. Hours after winning her heat in the 1500 meters, she’d moved from eighth place to the lead in the final two laps of the women’s 10,000 meters—the first final of the meet.

It was a head-to-head battle that many may have predicted, but the closing drama came as a shock.

Gudaf Tsegay and Sifan Hassan – shoulder to shoulder with their arms pumping and their eyes fixed on the finish – both chasing 10,000m gold in a thrilling first track final of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23.

Two of the fastest ever women over 25 laps of the track, locked in a fierce fight. Until suddenly, they weren’t. Just metres from the finish line, after both had used their 1500m speed to superb effect, Hassan fell – the Olympic champion's dreams of another global medal treble crashing down with her.

As Hassan stumbled, Tsegay remained resolute. The world 5000m champion from Oregon last year gritted her teeth and ended up adding a maiden 10,000m title to her burgeoning global medal haul, clocking 31:27.18 to lead an Ethiopian medal sweep ahead of world record-holder and defending champion Letesenbet Gidey, and world indoor medallist Ejgayehu Taye.

At first, Hassan played it safe. Sticking to the back of the pack as the race set out at a conservative pace, she covered the first 400m in 87 seconds, four seconds back at the end of a line of athletes snaking around the track.

As they ticked the laps off, the Dutch star moved up a few places – still sitting back off the leaders but close enough to cover any moves, if necessary. Tsegay and then Gidey took a turn at the front, as the race continued to build.

Then Hassan pounced. Gidey led at the bell – a stride ahead of Tsegay, with USA’s Alicia Monson just behind them. Hassan was fourth at that stage, having passed Taye plus Kenya’s Grace Loibach Nawowuna and Agnes Jebet Ngetich.

Unleashing the sort of pace that helped her to the world 1500m title in 2019, the 30-year-old blazed past her rivals along the back straight and led into the final bend. She was holding off a chasing Tsegay and seemed strong.

But Tsegay – the world indoor 1500m record-holder – wasn’t giving up. She drew level with Hassan on the home straight and they jostled for position. As Hassan stretched, she lost her rhythm and fell to the track, only able to watch as gold ran away.


So did silver, and bronze. After crossing the finish line in 31:28.16 to add 10,000m silver to the gold she won in Oregon, Gidey went back to help Hassan.

Taye ran 31:28.31 to complete the third medal sweep for her nation in the event at the World Championships, while Kenya’s Irine Jepchumba Kimais finished fourth, Monson fifth and Ngetich sixth.

Hassan wound up finishing in 11th place in a time of 31:53.35.

American Alicia Monson ran a strong race, looking as if she was in position to contend for a medal before Hassan’s last surge. She finished fifth in 31:32.29. Elise Cranny was 12th in 31:57.51, her best time this season, and Natosha Rogers was 14th in 32:08.05.

posted Saturday August 19th
by World Athletics (NBC sports Video)