Even though it wasn’t touted as a world record attempt, Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan threatened her world mile record in the Brussels Diamond League on Friday (3) evening with a world lead and meeting record of 4:14.74.
Hassan was initially planning to launch an attempt to regain her world 10,000m record at this meeting but after a heavy workload at the Olympic Games followed by a tired but still victorious outing over 5000m in Eugene a fortnight ago, the Dutchwoman altered her racing plans accordingly and chose to drop down in distance.
Hassan told the media at the pre-event press conference that she has started to feel like her old self in the week leading up to the event and she was in sprightly form in the opening stages of the mile, tracking the pacemakers with intent through 400m in 62.03 and 800m in 2:04.97.
When Hassan broke the world record in Monaco two years ago with 4:12.53, she began relatively conservatively and was three seconds ahead of her world record schedule at this point. And even though the time began to seep away from Hassan in the last two laps, she was still rewarded with a meeting record and the fourth fastest outdoor time in history with 4:14.74, a time which still delighted Hassan despite being two seconds slower than her world record.
“I am really happy with the time. After Tokyo I was so tired so I just wanted to run the short distance. My goal was to run fast here tonight and that is what I did. It is a beautiful time,” said Hassan who confirmed this was not a bonafide record attempt.
“No, I was not thinking about the world record, although I knew I was on world record pace in the beginning. But in the middle, it slowed down a bit. It does not matter. Like I said, I am happy with the time and meeting record.”
Hassan’s burden of six races at the Tokyo Olympics yielded gold medals in the 5000m and 10,000m along with a bronze in the 1500m. The latter event will be her focus in next week’s Diamond League final in Zurich where she is likely to rekindle her rivalry with reigning two-time Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon.
“I am not running any long distances anymore this year. In Zurich I will run the 1500m,” said Hassan.
Ethiopia’s Axumawit Embaye was a distant runner-up in 4:21.08 with Australia’s Linden Hall third in an Oceanian record of 4:21.38. Spain’s Olympic finalist Maria Perez was fourth, also in a lifetime best of 4:21.58.
But there was a world record attempt in the pole vault as Armand Duplantis once again attempted to improve his mark to 6.19m.
After first-time clearances all the way through to 5.91m, Duplantis broke his meeting record of 6.00m with a third-time clearance at 6.05m but improving his world record of 6.18m proved a tougher assignment.
Duplantis said at the press conference that “everything has to come together on the day” for a world record and his aspirations were surely not helped by a technical delay after he cleared 6.05m. But despite a lengthy wait in between vaults, Duplantis had an excellent second attempt at the height of 6.19m which has narrowly eluded him all season.
Hassan’s teammate Nadine Visser continued the good run of success for the Dutch contingent in Brussels with victory in the 100m hurdles in 12.69, beating Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan who was rewarded with the same time.
The top two were separated by nine-thousands with Visser narrowly prevailing ahead of the athlete who finished one place ahead of the Olympic fifth-placer in Tokyo.
“I still have a lot of races coming up. First Zurich, then Berlin and Bellinzona. Due to my injury I was forced to start my season very late so it is nice to have some opportunities left this season,” said Visser, the reigning European indoor champion.
Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh is also approaching these end-of-season competitions with a renewed zeal and the reigning European indoor champion took the scalps of the Olympic gold and silver medallists from Tokyo in the high jump.
The 19-year-old looked back to her best with a first-time clearance at 2.02m to defeat Mariya Lasitskene and Nicola McDermott who both knocked off the bar at 2.02m before failing to take the initiative from the Ukrainian at 2.04m.
Full results here.