Sifan Hassan on Saturday made light of the doping ban handed to her coach, Alberto Salazar, to complete a historic 1,500m/10,000m double at the World Athletics Championships as a host of stars celebrated golden repeat performances.
Hassan destroyed the 1,500m championship record — which had stood for 16 years — in what she admitted had been a “tough week” due to Salazar’s four-year ban being announced in the middle of the week.
The 26-year-old Ethiopia-born Dutch athlete ripped off her nameplate and took off on a barefoot victory lap, brandishing the Netherlands flag.
“I did not discuss a strategy as I had no one to discuss it with,” Hassan said. “It was a very tough week and I had a lot of things in my head, but I have a good manager and he really supported me.”
“I’ll show the world I am a clean athlete,” she added.
Hellen Obiri of Kenya retained her 5,000m title, while Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas retained her triple jump title.
Rojas said the dire state of her country was her motivation.
“I think that what happens in my country is why I want to make it proud, and inspire the whole country and the next generation,” the 23-year-old said.
Joe Kovacs of the US added a second shot put title — having won in 2015 — winning in a thriller with his last throw of 22.91m in front of Ashley, his wife and coach.
All three shot put medalists — Olympic champion Ryan Crouser took silver and 2017 champion Tomas Walsh took bronze — bettered the 32-year-old championship record of Werner Gunther.
“These guys probably thought I could only throw angry, but it is the first time I threw with a smile on my face,” said Kovacs, paying tribute to his wife and the change in his mentality since getting married.
By contrast, Justin Gatlin of the US and Jamaican sprint legend Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are old hands at the championships and both celebrated 4x100m relay gold.
Astonishingly two-time 100m men’s world champion Gatlin — also the 200m world champion in 2005 — has had to wait until he was 37 to secure one.
“Gold means so much to me. Probably a lot more than some I have won individually. It has eluded me throughout my career from college onward,” Gatlin said. “I take my hat off to my teammates. They broke that curse tonight of the US dropping the baton and I really appreciate them giving me that gift today.”
Fraser-Pryce added the relay title — her fourth in the event — to the 100m individual gold and her ninth overall in the history of the championships.
The 32-year-old was full of praise for her trio of less-experienced teammates: “It’s a pleasure to be among the younger athletes — seeing them come out and winning speaks volumes for the team.”
The men’s marathon saw Lelisa Desisa triumph and end an 18-year hiatus for Ethiopia — Gezahegne Abera had taken gold in Edmonton in 2001 — in a race that featured none of the carnage that the women experienced a week ago.
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