Salem Radio Network News Thursday, February 22, 2024


Athletics-Ethiopia’s Tsegay wins 10,000 metres after Hassan stumbles to the ground

By Lori Ewing

BUDAPEST (Reuters) -Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia won a dramatic women’s 10,000 metres at the world championships on Saturday night after race leader Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands stumbled and fell about 20 metres from the finish line.

Tsegay, the reigning world 5,000 metres champion, pulled up tightly beside Hassan down the home stretch and the two ran shoulder-to-shoulder before the Dutchwoman’s crash, leaving Tsegay to cross alone in a time of 31 minutes 27.18 seconds to lead an Ethiopian medal sweep.

“When Sifan tried to cross my line not far from the finish, I even did not pay attention to that,” said Tsegay, who finished with a stream of blood running from her knee down her shin.

“It happens often at different competitions because every one of us always fights for leading position. I just had in my mind how to find the way to finish first and, probably, to make historical finish for our country and to make Ethiopian people proud of us.”

World record-holder Letesenbet Gidey was second in 31:28.16, while Ejgayehu Taye won the bronze (31:28.31).

The 26-year-old Tsegay ran 59.01 seconds in the last lap that saw Hassan blaze by six runners down the back stretch and into the lead – until disaster struck.

The crowd at National Athletics Centre gasped when the Dutch runner wobbled and then went down.

“I think I got pushed by the Ethiopian,” Hassan said. “I hope I am not crazy. I will need to look at the replay to see what exactly happened.”

She eventually got back on her feet and finished in 11th place.

“I am keeping my smile but it is really hard. I am very disappointed,” she said. “This is sport, these things happen. I just had a bad moment.

“I felt really strong and tried to push in the last lap. I really enjoy what I do. I do not think I am injured. My hand is OK but the knee needs to be checked. Hopefully, all is good.”

Hassan, who won double gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 and bronze in the 1,500 at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is repeating her lung-busting Olympic triple in Hungary, saying on Instagram earlier in the week: “I want to see if I can do it again, because the challenge of running three distances fuels me.”

Less than seven hours earlier on Saturday, Hassan won her heat in the 1,500 metres.

Her six races, including heats and finals, stretch over eight days.

The Dutchwoman also won the London Marathon in April in her debut at the distance, despite stopping twice to stretch a tight leg muscle.

Tsegay will also run the 5,000, beginning with the heats on Wednesday.

“It was good race with an amazing finish; 10,000 is not my usual event,” Tsegay said. “I like 1,500 and 5,000 much more, but now I feel very special as I managed to add one more world title at the different distance. But 10,000 is not an event where I have a lot of experience. That is why it was not easy to win tonight.

“In any case, I was ready for a very fast finish, because I was not focused on time today, but only on gold medal.”

(Reporting by Lori Ewing; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Deepa Babington)


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