Sifan Hassan breaks the world 10,000m record in Hengelo (© FBK Games)
At an event named after a Dutch great, it’s appropriate that Sifan Hassan will take centre stage at this year’s FBK Games in Hengelo, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting, on Saturday (3) and Sunday (4).
Fanny Blankers-Koen famously won four gold medals – three individual, one relay – at the 1948 London Olympics, and while Hassan came up just shy of that at the Tokyo Games – winning two golds and one bronze – the 30-year-old distance star has etched her name alongside her predecessor as one of the all-time greats of Dutch sport.
Less than six weeks after taking victory at the London Marathon in her debut at the distance – an outing rife with the drama Hassan often brings to her races – she will be back on the line at 8:30pm local time on Saturday for the women’s 10,000m, the sole race that evening, before contesting the 1500m just 20 hours later.
“After the London Marathon it was of course a question of how my body would recover and respond to the track training,” said Hassan. “I would like to run a 10,000m to see how I am doing.”
Hassan ran a 10,000m world record of 29:06.82 at this event in 2021, which was broken by Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia with 29:01.03 just two days later. The 25-lap race in Hengelo sees Hassan, the reigning Olympic champion, take on a strong cast of East African athletes, including Ethiopia’s Tsigie Gebreselama, a silver medallist at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia, earlier this year, who ran her PB of 30:06.01 behind Hassan in Hengelo two years ago. Next quickest on paper is Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui, a former Kenyan now running for Kazakhstan, who ran her PB of 30:17.64 to finish seventh in last year’s World Championships.
Hassan’s speed will be put to the test on Sunday as she takes on a 1500m field that includes two sub-four-minute athletes: Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo and Australia’s Linden Hall.
Another Dutch star, Femke Bol, will draw huge support from the home crowd as she contests her first flat 400m of the outdoor season, having broken the indoor world record with 49.26 at the Dutch national championships in February. Belgium’s Cynthia Bolingo and USA’s Wadeline Jonathas are among her rivals.
Femke Bol wins the 400m hurdles in Hengelo (© Dan Vernon)
The women’s 100m should prove a tight contest, featuring Britain’s Daryll Neita, US trio Morolake Akinosun, Teahna Daniels and Cambrea Sturgis, along with Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye and Switzerland’s Ajla Del Ponte.
There will be a strong Dutch presence in the women’s 200m through Jamile Samuel and Lieke Klaver, though they’ll have it all to do to beat USA’s Kayla White, who ran 22.38 into a slight headwind in Botswana last month.
The women’s 100m hurdles sees USA’s 2019 world champion Nia Ali take on Bahamian Devynne Charlton, with Ali the quicker this year with the 12.53 she ran in April. Home hopes will be carried by Nadine Visser, who will run her first hurdles race of the outdoor season. Switzerland’s Ditaji Kambundji and Denmark’s Mette Graversgaard are also in the field.
Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh is the star attraction in the women’s high jump. She remains the only athlete to go over two metres in the event this outdoor season, jumping 2.01m to take victory in Rabat last weekend. Her compatriots Yuliia Levchenko and Iryna Gerashchenko could prove her toughest opponents.
The women’s shot put will see Maggie Ewen square off against fellow US thrower and reigning world champion Chase Ealey. Ewen tops the world lists with the 20.45m she threw in Westwood, USA, last weekend, while Ealey is close behind with the 20.06m she threw in Halle, Germany, last month. Among their rivals, Jamaica’s Danniel Thomas-Dodd is next best this season with the national record of 19.77m she threw behind the US duo last week. Portugal’s Auriol Dongmo and Dutch athlete Jessica Schilder are also in the field.
On the men’s side, the undoubted star attraction is Mondo Duplantis, who’s looking for his third win at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Stadium, having bettered the meeting record with a 6.10m clearance in 2021. Duplantis soared to a world record of 6.22m indoors and he opened his outdoor season with victory last week at the Los Angeles Grand Prix, clearing 5.91m with room to spare.
Pole vault winner Mondo Duplantis in Hengelo (© Dan Vernon)
He will take on an eight-strong field, all of whom have cleared 5.80m, with Australia’s Kurtis Marschall, a 5.85m vaulter this season, perhaps the leading candidate for the runner-up spot – which is all that’s usually left if the Swede brings his usual brilliance.
The long jump will see USA’s JuVaughn Harrison take on compatriot William Williams, with Harrison fresh off a 2.32m high jump victory at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Doha, though he was well off his long jump best of 8.47m in his sole outing in that event this year (7.62m).
Many will be keeping a close eye on rising star Mattia Furlani of Italy to see if the 18-year-old can reproduce the heroics he delivered in Savona, Italy, last week, where he jumped 8.44m with a 2.2m/s tailwind. Namibia’s Chenault Lionel Coetzee is also sure to feature, having jumped 8.27m in April.
The men’s javelin sees German trio Johannes Vetter, Julian Weber and Andreas Hofmann go up against Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott. Weber is the best of them this season via the 88.37m he threw in Rehlingen, Germany, last weekend. Belgium’s Timothy Herman should also feature based off the 87.35m PB he threw in Nairobi last month. Finnish duo Oliver Helander and Lassi Etelatalo are also in the field.
On the track, all eyes will be on Grant Holloway in the 110m hurdles to see if the two-time world champion can dip under 13 seconds for the first time this year. He tops the world lists with the 13.01 he ran in Atlanta last month. Fellow US hurdler Devon Allen will be looking to take a chunk off his season’s best of 13.25, which he ran to finish fourth last weekend in Rabat, while USA’s Freddie Crittenden should also go close given his season’s best of 13.19.
Grant Holloway at the Gyulai Istvan Memorial (© Zsigmond László)
In the men’s 400m hurdles, USA’s CJ Allen should prove tough to stop given his recent victory at the Los Angeles Grand Prix in a PB of 47.91, while the next quickest this season is Pablo Andres Ibanez Guevara of El Salvador (48.56) and Dutch athlete Nick Smidt (48.70).
The men’s 100m sees USA’s Marvin Bracy-Williams arrive in fine form, having clocked 9.93 (0.8m/s) earlier this week in Montreuil, France. Fellow US sprinter Ronnie Baker, Britain’s Reece Prescod and Jamaica’s Yohan Blake are also in the field.
The men’s 400m sees USA’s Vernon Norwood head the entries based on season’s best with the 44.68 he ran in Nairobi in April. Also in the line-up are Dutch sprinter Liemarvin Bonevacia along with Botswana’s Busang Collen Kebinatshipi and Isaac Makwala.
The men’s 1500m will see Germany’s Robert Farken, a 3:32.10 performer this season, line up against Britain’s Elliot Giles, Ireland’s Andrew Coscoran and France’s Azeddine Habz in a field with no outstanding favourite, but considerable strength in depth.
Cathal Dennehy for World Athletics