Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands has already had an annus mirabilis – and as she approaches a possible 5000m/10,000m double in Doha it could get even better.
The Dutch runner already has world bronze medals at both distances – a 1500m version from 2015 and a 5000m version from 2017.
But the 26-year-old US-based runner will have justified hopes of gold as she approaches the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019. Earlier this season at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco she broke Svetlana Masterkova’s almost 23-year-old world mile record, running 4:12.33, and she went on to become IAAF Diamond League champion at both 1500m and 5000m.
While one of Hassan’s main expected rivals in the shorter distance, Ethiopia’s world record-holder Genzebe Dibaba, has dropped out of Doha with a foot injury, the longer distance retains a formidable challenge in the form of Kenya’s defending champion and Olympic silver medallist Hellen Obiri.
The Kenyan could finish only fourth at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels on 6 September, but she has the fastest time so far this season, 14:20.36, set in the race at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London that provided the three fastest 5000m times of the year.
One place behind her on 14:20.68 was Obiri’s compatriot Agnes Tirop, with Hassan third on 14:22.12.
Tirop will contest just the 10,000m in Doha, but Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi, fifth in London two years ago, will be a significant force for them, having run a best of 14:31.69 this season.
Ethiopia, traditionally strong, will be represented by a strong quartet headed by Letesenbet Gidey, who has a best of 14:23.14 and ran a season’s best of 14:29.54 as she finished second to Hassan in the Diamond League final.
European hopes will be resting with Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen, fourth on this year’s world list with the national record of 14:26.76 she ran in Berlin in August. Klosterhalfen, a training partner of Hassan, indicated her growing confidence as she finished third in Brussels in 14:29.89, one place ahead of the world champion.
Canada’s Gabriela Debues-Stafford, who ran a Canadian record of 14.44.12 to finish seventh in the Diamond League final, will be hoping for another memorable competition in Qatar.
Others to watch out for include the British pair of Laura Weightman and Eilish McColgan, competitors to the bone. McColgan, daughter of the 1991 10,000m world champion Liz, is the eighth fastest entrant on the list thanks to the PB of 14:47.94 she set in Hengelo.
Norway’s steeplechase specialist Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal, a finalist in London two years ago, will be another one to watch having run 14:51.66 this year.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF