With one of the finest performances of all-time, Sifan Hassan smashed the 17-year-old European 3000m record in Stanford, California on Sunday night.
The Dutch star left the crowd at the IAAF Diamond League meeting stunned as she won in 8:18.49, breaking Gabriela Szabo’s mark of 8:21.42 set in Monaco in 2002 by almost three seconds and her personal best by over nine seconds to register her second successive national record at a Diamond League meeting.
Outside of the three Chinese women who top the world list – the quickest being Wang Junxia with her world record of 8:06.11 from 1993 – no woman has run this fast outdoors.
And how fitting it came in an event held in memory of one of the greatest of all distance athletes - Steve Prefontaine - who died in 1975, a runner who held American records at every distance from 2000 to 10,000m including on three occasions breaking the national 3000m mark.
Hassan, who also smashed the Diamond League record of 8:20.68 held by Kenyan Hellen Obiri since 2014, said: “This time I really surprised myself. I think maybe the 3000m is my best distance because I run the 1500m and the 5000m. I am happy.”
And she vowed there could be more to come as the sport counts down to the IAAF World Championships in Doha in the autumn. “I just started my season a few weeks ago, I have to improve and train better. It gives me confidence but I will have to work hard again,” she said.
Sifan Hassan broke Gabriela Szabo’s long-standing European 3000m record in Stanford yesterday with 8:18.49!— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) July 1, 2019
Konstanze Klosterhalfen also broke Szabo’s European U23 record, moving to second on the European all-time list with 8:20.07! pic.twitter.com/inRdndwLAA
Into the final kilometre, Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey made a bold break for the win with teammate Genzebe Dibaba also in the hunt and Hassan back in fourth. As they passed the bell, Hassan made her move, the gap narrowed and she took control on the back straight.
It was phenomenal running and brilliant timing by the Dutch star, who has two outdoor world bronze medals to her name from the 1500m in Beijing in 2015 and the 5000m in London two years later but she now has gold in her sights - regardless of which distances she chooses to run in Doha.
Hassan’s training partner Konstanze Klosterhalfen from Germany also broke another of Szabo’s records, overtaking her European U23 record of 8:27.78 - moving to second on the European all-time list and into the world all-time top-10 with 8:20.07 to finish second ahead of both Gidey (8:20.27) and Dibaba (8:21.29).
Klosterhalfen took almost nine seconds off her national record and lifetime best and will surely get close to the German 1500m record of 3:57.71 which has stood since 1980 later this season.
Great Britain’s Laura Weightman, who had never broken nine minutes before, moved to second on the British all-time list behind Paula Radcliffe’s 8:22.20, finishing fifth in 8:26.07.
Lasitskene extends unbeaten run; Duplantis defeats Kendricks
High jumper Mariya Lasitskene once more demonstrated that she will be the athlete the rest have to beat at this year’s IAAF World Championships in Doha.
Already a gold medallist this season after her European indoor title in Glasgow, Lasitskene cleared 2.04m at the IAAF Diamond League in Stanford to secure another imperious victory.
Lasitskene, who will be the defending champion in Doha as she chases a hat-trick of titles, was faultless in this display.
Starting at 1.84m, she had a first-time clearance at that distance and then at 1.88m, 1.92m, 1.95m, 1.98m, 2.00m, 2.02m and 2.04m before three attempts at a Russian record of 2.08m.
It was not to be as she missed out three times but it was still another superb performance. Lasitskene beat former world indoor champion Vashti Cunningham, who was second on countback with 2.00m from Ukraine’s precocious Yaroslava Mahuchikh, the pair both achieving a personal best.
Mahuchikh, who became the youngest ever female winner of a Diamond League in Doha, achieved more history yesterday as the 17-year-old became the youngest jumper in history to clear 2.00m in the high jump. Her mark was also a world age-17 best and she comes within one centimetre of the world U20 record.
Mahuchikh’s next major competition will be the Boras 2019 European Athletics U20 Championships from 18-21 July.
There is no stopping Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis as he looks to add the world title to his European crown.
It surely cannot be a night as spectacular in Doha as it was last year in Berlin when he took gold but his preparations are showing how he good he remains as he won with 5.93m, defeating the defending world champion in the process.
The fact he has the world lead of six metres this early in such a long outdoor season is impressive enough for a man who does not turn 20 until November – a month after the IAAF World Championships.
Will he be world champion by then? It is a distinct possibility.
Duplantis cleared 5.93m on his second attempt before two failures at 6.01m ended his day ahead of world champion Sam Kendricks (5.88m) and Poland’s world silver medallist Piotr Lisek (5.71m).