Previews05 Jul 2024

Hassan back at Hengelo to defend 1500m and 10,000m titles as Bol runs 400m


Sifan Hassan and Femke Bol at the FBK Games (© Lars van Hoeven / FBK Games)

Home athletes Sifan Hassan and Femke Bol will once again be headline performers in Hengelo this weekend as the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold continues with the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games.

On the Dutch track where she set a world 10,000m record of 29:06.82 in 2021, the 31-year-old Hassan is back to defend the 10,000m and 1500m titles she won at this meeting last year – performances that were sandwiched between her winning marathon debut in London in April and a second victory over 26.2 miles in Chicago in October.

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A live stream of the 10,000m will be available on Inside Track without geo-restrictions. The live stream will begin at 8:20pm CEST. For information on broadcast coverage of Sunday's meeting, check out the where to watch guide.

Hassan, whose 2021 10,000m world record time was bettered on the same track two days later when Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey ran 29:01.03, clocked 29:37.80 for the distance at last year’s FBK Games, a time that was only subsequently beaten last season by the 29:29.73 by Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay. Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet has since taken the world record to 28:54.14 in Eugene in May. 

With the Paris 2024 Games looming, the performance of Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion Hassan will be closely monitored, with the longer of her two races taking place on Saturday (6) on the eve of the main meeting now in its 43rd edition.

There is something fitting about Hassan competing in this event, given that by earning medals in three different track events at the Tokyo Olympics – she also won 1500m bronze – she emulated the Dutch athlete after whom this weekend’s competition is named. Blankers-Koen won four golds at the 1948 London Olympics, at 100m, 200m, 80m hurdles and in the 4x100m relay.

Hassan’s performance this weekend will help shape her choices for Paris, where there are possibilities for her in all three track events as well as the marathon. “When I think of Hengelo, I think of the fantastic audience and the atmosphere,” she said. “Especially last year I felt the support of the entire stadium. 

“I am really looking forward to coming back to the FBK Games in Hengelo. It is special that I can run a competition in my own country in preparation for the Olympic Games and I hope that there will be just as many people to support me again.”

Bol, who broke her own world indoor 400m record as she clocked 49.17 to win the world indoor title in Glasgow on 2 March, will test herself over the 400m flat outdoors, an event in which her great hurdles rival Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone heads this year’s world list with 48.75.

The 24-year-old Dutch athlete, who took 400m hurdles bronze behind McLaughlin-Levrone at the Tokyo Olympics and silver at the 2022 World Athletics Championships, won the world title in the US athlete’s absence last year and has said she will run only this event, and relays, in Paris.

Just over a week after McLaughlin-Levrone took 0.03 off her own world 400m hurdles record at the US Olympic trials, where she clocked 50.65, Bol will be keen to fashion her own statement of intent. 

“After the 200m during the national athletics championships the week before, I can work on my speed with this 400m as preparation for the Olympic Games and dot the i's,” Bol said.

The field also includes her Dutch 4x400m teammates Cathelijn Peeters and Lisanne De Witte as well as Ireland’s Sharlene Mawdsley, whose inspirational running helped Ireland to mixed 4x400m gold and women’s 4x400m silver at last month’s European Championships.

Sunday’s main programme features a host of other successful Olympians.

Britain’s Olympic and world silver medallist in the 800m, Keely Hodgkinson – now looking at a Paris Games that will not feature the Olympic and world champion Athing Mu following her fall at the US trials – heads a field that also includes Uganda’s 2019 world champion Halimah Nakaayi and Renelle Lamote of France.

Keely Hodgkinson in Paris

Keely Hodgkinson (© Getty Images)

Having retained her European title in Rome last month despite suffering from a debilitating cold that left her participation in doubt until the last minute, Hodgkinson will be hoping for a less stressful but equally successful outing. Having run 1:55.19 already this season, the 2008 meeting record of 1:55.76 held by Kenya’s Pamela Jelimo may be in her sights.

Puerto Rico’s Olympic 100m hurdles champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn will feature in a stacked field that also includes 2019 world champion Nia Ali of the United States and the respective European silver and bronze medallists, Ditaji Kambundji of Switzerland and Poland’s Pia Skrzyszowska, with home eyes on the athlete who has won two golds and a silver at the last three European Indoor Championships, Nadine Visser.

A mighty contest is in prospect in the men’s discus, where Lithuania’s 21-year-old Mykolas Alekna, who broke the longstanding world record with 74.35m in April, will seek to get back to winning ways having had to settle for bronze in his defence of the European title last month, one place behind Austria’s Lukas Weisshaidinger, who is also involved.

The women’s shot put sees USA’s 2022 and 2023 world champion Chase Jackson take on the Chinese athlete who earned the previous two world titles in 2017 and 2019, Olympic champion Gong Lijiao. Also in a top-class mix will be Jackson’s compatriot Maggie Ewen, Danniel Thomas-Dodd of Jamaica, Sweden’s Fanny Roos and home athlete Jessica Schilder, who retained her European title in Rome.

Rising home talent Niels Laros will seek a national record in the men’s 1000m, with the 19-year-old’s target being the 2:15.05 Marko Koers ran in 1997. 

In the men’s 100m, Kenya’s Commonwealth champion Ferdinand Omanyala, second in this season’s top list with the 9.79 he recorded at high altitude in Nairobi, faces a field that includes Cameroon’s Emmanuel Eseme, Jamaica’s 2011 world champion Yohan Blake and Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse of Canada.

Home interest will centre on 22-year-old Raphael Bouju, back after injury, and 40-year-old Churandy Martina, running in Hengelo for the 17th and last time and still carrying hopes of contesting a sixth Olympics.

Vernon Norwood of the United States is fastest on paper with a season’s best of 44.47 in a men’s 400m that also contains home athlete Liemarvin Bonevacia, who won European bronze last month at 35. 

Greece’s London 2012 pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi, who created waves of emotion in winning European silver last month, is top of the field with her season’s best of 4.73m, with Canada’s 2018 Commonwealth champion Alysha Newman and Roberta Bruni of Italy her most likely challengers.

Hassan, who set a European 1500m record of 3:51.95 in 2019, faces three runners who have clocked sub-4:00 times in that event in Britain’s Melissa Courtney-Bryant, Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo and fellow Dutch athlete Maureen Koster.

Three runners in the men’s 5000m have sub-13:00 personal bests, the fastest being Ethiopia’s Telahun Haile Bekele, who has clocked 12:42.70. 

In the men’s high jump, Dutch European indoor champion Douwe Amels faces New Zealand’s world indoor champion Hamish Kerr and Ukraine’s European bronze medallist Oleh Doroshchuk.

With a personal best of 17.75m, Italy’s Andy Diaz Hernandez is favourite in the men’s triple jump.

Celera Barnes of the United States has the fastest 2024 time of the field in the women’s 100m, 11.02, but she will face pressure from Germany’s 2018 European champion Gina Luckenkemper and Britain’s European 4x100m gold medallist Amy Hunt.

Mike Rowbottom for World Athletics

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