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After a series of near-misses at previous IAAF World Athletics Championships, Sifan Hassan finally broke through in Doha tonight, by stepping up to run only her second 10,000m race.
The Dutch distance queen has had an exceptional year, setting both a world 5km record on the road and a world mile record on the track on the way to winning her first world title in 30:17.33.
Hassan has shown extraordinary versatility in the past year, clocking world-class times from 1500m to the half-marathon, and said her strategy tonight was to stay in touch with the leaders long enough to have the chance to unleash her superior sprinting speed on the last lap.
And so it proved as she took the lead from the eventual runner-up, Ethiopia’s 21-year-old Letesenbet Gidey, at the bell and dashed away to victory.
“I know I am more of a 1500m and 5km runner, so if I could get close I would have enough to win,” she said. “She (Gidey) kept trying to kick but in the last 800m I knew I had it.”
Hassan has set herself up for a golden double this week, and she confirmed after tonight’s race that she will now turn her attention to the 5000m.
Jamaica has ceded its dominance of the men’s sprint events since the retirement of Usain Bolt, but established supremacy in a new realm tonight as 23-year-old Tajay Gayle produced the biggest leap in the world for 10 years, 8.69m, to win the long jump title.
Competing before world record-holder Mike Powell, who was clearly delighted by the calibre of the competition, Gayle repelled the challenge from Olympic champion Jeff Henderson (8.39m) and pre-event favourite Juan Miguel Echevarria of Cuba (8.34m).
Gayle added 37cm to his personal best on a magic night for the young Jamaican and described his winning leap as “a perfect jump for me”.
US 100m champion Christian Coleman also became world champion, using his brilliant start to decisive effect to subdue the fastest men in the world in the short sprint, equalling his personal best in 9.76.
He finished more than a metre clear of the field, as his 37-year-old compatriot, defending champion Justin Gatlin, claimed the silver medal in 9.89.
US hammer-thrower DeAnna Price completed the quartet of first-time winners, confirming victory with a third-round throw of 77.54m.
The young mixed 4x400m relay team topped off a great night for the USA by setting the first world record in the heats of the new event, making its World Championships debut in Doha.
Tyrell Richard, Jessica Beard, Jasmine Blocker and Obi Igbokwe combined to set a new benchmark of 3:12.42 and qualify fastest for tomorrow’s final.