World Athletics Championships drama sees USA win gold as Netherlands runner fell

Day 1 of the World Athletics Championships has already produced drama in multiple events, with two runners slipping just metres before crossing the finish line. In both instances, it was a member of the Netherlands that fell at the line, including Team USA snatching a world record from their hands.

Femke Bol and Sifan Hassan are two of the biggest names in Dutch athletics, and they had a day to forget in Budapest.

In the 4×400 mixed relay Netherlands and USA were scrapping for gold, but Bol fell just metres from the line and surrendered a gold medal and world record. USA runners Justin Robinson, Rosey Effiong, Matthew Boling and Alexis Holmes took full advantage and finished with a new best time of 3:08.80.

Great Britain picked up silver and the Czech Republic secured gold, as Bol had a moment that every athlete fears when out on the track. But to make matters worse it was the second time in the day that it happened for the Dutch after Hassan fell in the 10,000 metres.

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In the final of the women’s 10,000 metres Hassan was just leading Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay when she also fell just before the line, and failed to get up before multiple runners moved past her. Ethiopia managed a clean sweep in the event, with world record-holder Letesenbet Gidey finishing in second and Ejgayehu Taye in third.

Hassan claimed that she was pushed when reflecting on the incident, as she said: “I think I got pushed by the Ethiopian. I hope I am not crazy. I will need to look at the replay to see what exactly happened.”

The Dutch runner ended up finishing 11th but vowed to keep being positive despite a nightmare day. “I am keeping my smile but it is really hard. I am very disappointed,” Hassan said. “This is sport, these things happen. I just had a bad moment.

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“I felt really strong and tried to push in the last lap. I really enjoy what I do. I do not think I am injured. My hand is OK but the knee needs to be checked. Hopefully, all is good.”

Hassan surrendered her crown after winning gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres races at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Hassan and Bol went into their respective events as favourites, but luck was not on their side.

Ethiopia and USA won’t mind and have both made a brilliant start to the World Championships. Hassan was scheduled to race in the 1,500 metres on Tuesday, but needs her knee examined first before being cleared to run.

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