Hassan of the Netherlands wins gold in the women’s 5,000 meters as Kenya’s steeplechase ends dominance
Sifan Hassan took the first of what she hopes will be an unprecedented track gold hat-trick, as Kenya’s astonishing run of wins in the men’s steeplechase ended as boiling sun gave way to torrential rain at the Olympic track on Monday.
Conditions slowed the field events, and Valarie Allman went on to win the women’s discus throw with her opening throw — an unlikely source for the United States’ first athletic gold at the Games.
If Dutchman Hassan is going to pack her remarkable treble, no one can say she had it easy as she started the day falling through on the final lap of her 1,500m heat, only to jump up and charge across the field to be first. to end.
Fueled by caffeine, she returned to the track in the evening and was in total control of a slow running 5,000 meters, sitting in the pack before unleashing her signature outburst from the last lap. Kenyan Hellen Obiri held her for half a lap, but slipped back and had to settle for a second silver in a row.
Hassan returns to 1,500 for the semi-finals, with the 10,000 m, the event in which she held the world record for two days in June, is the final piece of the puzzle.
“It was a great day. When I fell and had to jump, I felt like I was using so much energy,” she said.
“Before the race here I didn’t even care. I was so tired. Without coffee I would never become an Olympic champion.”
The only times Kenya hasn’t won the steeplechase gold since 1968 was when they boycotted the 1976 and ’80s Games and bid to make it 10 in a row on Monday.
However, the stranglehold was finally broken when Soufiane El Bakkali from Morocco took the title.
Fourth in the 2016 Olympics, El Bakkali ruined what was to be an East African showdown with a rising final lap to win in 8:08.90 minutes after Ethiopian Lamecha Girma took the majority of the race, but finished with silver.
Benjamin Kigen’s bronze medal was a small consolation for Kenya.
“I’m so used to seeing Kenyans win, it’s a big achievement for me,” said El Bakkali.
“I’ve tried so many times to compare myself to the Kenyans and Ethiopians to see if I could achieve this gold, and I succeeded.”
Allman launched her first throw 68.98 meters and was never really threatened. Germany’s Kristin Pudenz braved the difficult circumstances with a personal best of 66.86 for silver and Yaime Perez of Cuba just beat Croatia’s double defending champion Sandra Perkovic for bronze.
Back on track, defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, one and two in the 100m final, look great to repeat in the 200m after impressive qualifying performances.
Thompson-Herah, who was looking for a second consecutive Olympic sprint double after taking the gold in the 100 meters on Saturday, equaled her personal best of 21.66 seconds, while Fraser-Pryce went to 22.13.
There was mixed news for the final two winners of the men’s 400m as 2012 champion Kirani saw Grenada’s James back at his best with the fastest semi-final time, but South Africa defending champion and world record holder Wayde van Niekerk was unable to progress after a long string of injuries.
The women’s showdown in the 400m hurdles has begun as American rivals Dalilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughin rode safely across a soaked track to win their heats and set a final where the world record, recently set by Mohammed’s McLaughin was taken over is under threat.
The morning session caused a lot of excitement as Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn impressively took the 100m hurdles – her team’s first-ever athletics gold – and Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece won the men’s long jump with his last jump, the first medal of his country at the event.
Tentoglou’s jump of 8.41 meters put him on a level with Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria, but his next best effort was superior, securing the gold.