Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan tripped over, rolled up and won 1500m heat

Sifan Hassan's bid for a distance at the Olympics was almost derailed on Monday when the world champion tripped over another runner and fell at the last bell of her heat of 1500 meters.

Sifan Hassan Dutch Runner in Tokyo Olympics
Sifan Hassan Dutch Runner in Tokyo Olympics

Netherlands: Sifan Hassan’s bid for a distance at the Olympics was almost derailed on Monday when the world champion tripped over another runner and fell at the last bell of her heat of 1500 meters.

Surprisingly, she eventually won the race.

Hassan tried but failed to stop Kenya’s Edinah Jebitok, who crashed just in front of her, while runners raced around their position at the start of the final round.

Hassan also crashed, but rolled, got up quickly and in an astonishing return chased the suit.

With a shock elimination, the Dutch runner ran alongside a few runners at the back, reaching the front pack with the last turn and winning from Australia’s Jessica Hull and the American Elinor Purrier St. Pierre after turning off the house straight.

Hassan finished in 4 minutes, 5.17 seconds, to qualify for the semifinals, although she paid almost dearly for the decision to run back in the field in the early stages of the race and wait for the clock to let her move. She was third from last at the start of the final lap and just before she fell.

Her recovery kept her bid for the treble in Tokyo alive.

Hassan has already qualified to run in the 5,000 meters final at the Olympic Stadium later on Monday. However, the energy she spent on the last lap in the 1,500 heats could catch up with her when she returns in the evening session to compete for her try first gold of the Games.

Hassan did not stop talking to reporters after the 1,500 race as she rushed away to recover and prepare for the 5,000 final.

Hassan, who was born in Ethiopia but moved to the Netherlands as a refugee, is expected to fight with two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya for the 5,000 gold, while three Ethiopians also challenge for a medal.

Hassan won a double of 1,500-10,000 meters at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar in 2019. She said she would also run in the 10,000 meters at the Olympics. No athlete has won 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 meters gold at the same Olympic Games.

Hassan’s gruelling schedule means he will have to run six races in eight days in the heat and humidity of Tokyo, including the two races on Monday and the 1500 and 10,000 finals on back-and-back days on Friday and Saturday.