By Brian Homewood
DOHA (Reuters) – Sifan Hassan produced a stunning final lap to win the women’s 10,000 metres at the world athletics championships on Saturday, an event she only ran for the first time in May.
The Dutchwoman overtook Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey just before the bell and powered away over the last lap to win in a season’s best time of 30 minutes 17.63 seconds. Gidey was second and Kenya’s Agnes Tirop third.
Gidey and the other Ethiopian runners enjoyed the backing of a small but noisy, flag-waving contingent of their compatriots in the crowd, but thousands of seats remained empty.
It was another display of the 26-year-old’s remarkable versatility as she claimed the first world title of her career.
Hassan, who moved to the Netherlands after leaving Ethiopia as a refugee when she was 15, also won a world championship bronze over 1,500 metres in 2015 and 5,000 metres two years ago.
She broke the world mile record in July and boasts a European record of 1:05:15 for the half marathon.
She has also entered the 1,500 and 5,000 metres later in the competition but will have to choose only one of them as they clash.
As expected, the race turned into a cagey battle between Ethiopians and Kenyans with Hassan in their midst as a group of six runners broke away.
Hassan at one stage looked uncomfortable and when Gidey made a break with four laps left, she seemed the likely winner.
But Hassan stayed in touch, closed the gap to go second with two laps left and produced a superb final lap to clinch the gold.
(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)