Despite failing to Win the 1500m race at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 she is the fastest women in this distance this year
By: Latifa Yusuf Masai
Somalilandsun- While appearances by Sir Mo Farah at athletics events allows me the only opportunity to roar in support of Somaliland, despite the champion being a British citizen, in normal circumstances which is regularly I am to be found routing for Kenyans, my country of birth, against Ethiopians and any other comers.
But on Monday the 7th August things turned otherwise as events at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 evolved through the TV in my humble abode in Hargeisa Somaliland.
Having been appraised that the women’s 1500m was on the cards , I patiently waited as the women’s 400m hurdles heats devoid of my favorite Kenyans nor opponents Ethiopians went on boringly though with a sprinkling of a Nigerian, Zambian and Botswana.
Couple with the 400m women heats was the women’s hammer throw won by 2 poles and Chinese Ms Wang, Women’s triple jump won by Venezuela as well as the Men’s 100m hurdles final won by Jamaican Omar Macleod.
Yes there was some joyous and nerve racking moments as the clocked ticked to announcement of the much anticipated 1500m women finals (see list below) and yes there were finalists representing both my Favourite Kenya, Faith Kipyegon, and Nemesis Ethiopian, Genzebe Dibaba , but as the athletes introductions continued a name Sifan Hasan caught my attention.
Representing Netherlands her adopted country, Sifan Hasan is a 24 year old Somali born in Nazareth Ethiopia and an athlete to reckon with in the women’s 1500m, 800m and Half Marathon both in Europe where she holds couple of titles and globally.
During the first and second laps Sifan was nowhere wth the pack at the front having a sconces herself at the middle of the fast trotting ladies but despite my worries come the third lap, the Dutch Somali whooshed to the front pack where the battle was between her and Kipyegon.
Amazingly and against the stacked odds Sifan maintained her pace through out the third round and three quarters of the final lap.
After a stacked field had run cautiously to the bell, Kipyegon was in pole position to earn another global title as she ran alongside the Dutch athlete who leads this year’s world list with 3:56.14, Sifan Hassan, with Britain’s Laura Muir and Ethiopia’s Dibaba in close attendance. Reports IAAF on the race
“By the time the field reached the final bend, Dibaba had dropped away but the Briton, roared on mightily, remained in pursuit of a medal until a tumultuous final 20 metres in which Hassan went backwards to fifth as US runner Jennifer Simpson, champion in 2011, came smoothly through for silver on the inside and South Africa’s Caster Semenya, who will defend her 800m title here, just moved past for bronze before staggering and falling at the line.
Kipyegon did everything right, crossing first in 4:02.59, with the American clocking 4:02.76, with Semenya recording 4:02.90.
Though Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon won the 1500m race at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 on Monday 7th Aug, deep within she knows that her triumph wasn’t easy but one facilitated by luck because unexplainably, her main challenger Sifan Hasan lost her pace completely.
“I thank God today, it was a good race in London,”.It is such a high quality field. The best was going to win here.” Kipyegon said after her surprise win in the race with six women who had run the 1500m faster than four minutes in 2017,
With 200 metres to go, Kipyegon and the Netherlands’ world indoor champion Sifan Hassan – the fastest in the world this year with 3:56.14 – were battling it out at the head of a field, as Muir chased hard behind in third. However, Olympic bronze medallist Simpson got it tactically right once again, passing Muir on the inside to win her third world 1500m medal after her gold in 2011 and silver in 2013. Meanwhile, Semenya showed some of her 1:55.27 two-lap speed to also pass Muir – and a dying Hassan – just metres before the line, as 2015 world bronze medallist Hassan held on for fifth in 4:03.34.
Though she failed to win Gold, Silver or Bronze, Sifan Hasan be she a Dutch born in Ethiopia is surely our new Somali hero at the tracks not only for being the Netherlands’ world indoor champion But – the fastest in the world this year with 3:56.14 –
According to IAAF Sifan Hasan who started her track career in 2011 is power to reckon with in the half marathon, 5000m, 3000m, 1500m and 800m both indoor and track. Click the link to read the full Athletic Profile of Sifan Hasan