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Sifan Hassan narrowly misses her mile world record in Brussels

Hassan came up just short, crossing the line in 4:14.75, the fourth-fastest time in history

Photo by: Pat Holleran/Shannon Digital Imaging

Sifan Hassan went after her own mile world record of 4:12.33 at the final Diamond League meet in Brussels on Friday. She came up just short, crossing the line in 4:14.75, the fourth-fastest time in history. Axamawit Embaye was second (4:21.08) and Linden Hall was third in 4:21.38, an Australian national record.

From the start of the race, Hassan was on her own, being paced through the 1,000m mark in 2:33. She reached this point three seconds earlier than her record-breaking effort at Monaco in 2019. Two weeks ago, announced she would attempt to break the 5,000m world record at the Pre Classic before the race even started. In Brussels, she avoided sharing her attempt with the media before the race. 

The women’s 200m lived up to expectations. Christine Mboma took control of the race over the last 100m and won in 21.84 seconds. 100m bronze medallist from Tokyo Shericka Jackson finished second in 21.95, just ahead of 2019 world champion Dina Asher-Smith (22.04 SB). U.S. sprinter Sha’carri Ricardson was fourth in 22.45.

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Michael Cherry made a statement in the men’s 400m, running the fifth-fastest time this year in 44.03 seconds. Tokyo bronze medallist Kirani James finished second (44.51), after leading for three-quarters of the race. 400m veteran Isaac Makwala was third (44.83).

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It was a battle between Hellen Obiri and Francine Niyonsaba in the women’s 5,000m. Canadian 5,000m Olympian Kate Van Buskirk paced the field through two kilometres at 2:51/km. Niyonsaba took the lead and signalled for Obiri to help with the pace. There were four athletes in the mix with 400m to go, Obiri leading the charge from the front. Niyonsaba was in the fourth position with 200m to go, but used her middle-distance experience to her advantage, delivering a lethal kick out of lane four. Niyonsaba set a 29-second personal best to win the 5,000m in 14:25.34 (breaking her own national record for Burundi). Ejgayehu Taye of Ethiopia was second (14:25.63), Obiri third (14:26.23).

Stewart McSweyn finally got his 1,500m win at a Diamond League meet. It could be because his rival, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, was not there. Mohamed Katir of Spain challenged McSweyn with 400m to go, but ran out of gas late, as McSweyn surged past him in 3:33.20. Fellow Australian Olli Hoare finished just behind McSweyn in 3:33.79. Indoor 1,500m world record holder Samuel Tefera, who many thought would challenge McSweyn in this race, finished 10th (3:36.20).