Search icon

Women in Sport

20th Aug 2023

Sifan Hassan gives sporting interview after Dutch disaster at World Athletics Championships

Niall McIntyre

Dutch supporters will be asking the question, why us?

On an evening that had you questioning the workings of your very eyes, Holland were left battered, bruised, bleeding, medal-less.

And that was the most painful thing of all.

Twice, their athletes led around the home bend. Twice, they led with 50 metres to go, twice, they led with ten to go. But twice, in the space of half an hour, their World Athletics Championship dreams went up in smoke, nose-diving into the Budapest cinder in the final five metres.

Sifan Hassan, the miracle woman of distance running was the first to come a cropper.

The Olympic champion largely stayed out of trouble in the 10,000m final, stalking the field from the back of the pack before striking at the bell. It looked like she’d timed it all to utter perfection.

She stormed clear of Ethiopia’s Tsegay and Gidey only for her legs to go from under her. Hassan, who unbelievably will compete in the 1500m and the 5000m later on in the week, had surrendered gold for a cut knee and a bloodied elbow.

There was no silver or bronze for consolation as Ethiopia completed a one, two, three. Afterwards, despite initially feeling that she was pushed, Hassan gave an incredibly sporting interview.

“I’m really disappointed but this is sport, this can happen. It’s not the end of the world you know.

“Athletics is full of ups and downs. That’s what makes it beautiful. It’s always challenging us. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, sometimes we fall, sometimes we stand up.

“Tomorrow, I will race the 1500m. I have to be grateful for what I have. I have to be disciplined and accept it all, that’s what makes it easier.

“We touched and I lost balance and I fall down. Sometimes it happens. These things happen.”

Unbelievably, it was a case of deja-vu half an hour later when Femke Bol fell in the dying strides of the mixed 4 x 400m relay.

Speaking after the race, a distraught Bol vowed to bounce back in the individual 400m hurdles.

“I would like my revenge,” she said.

What a night in Budapest.