World Champs Women’s 10K — Crash-Up Finish Goes Tsegay’s Way

Sifan Hassan’s rightward drift and arm swing into Gudaf Tsegay led to widely disparate results for each. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

A MAGNIFICENT SPRINT finish versus Sifan Hassan brought Gudaf Tsegay 10,000m gold in 31:27.18 in just her third effort over the distance. As Olympic champion Hassan stumbled and crashed to the track 20m from the finish, Letesenbet Gidey (31:28.16) and Ejgayehu Taye (31:28.31) dashed by to complete an Ethiopian sweep.

“It was a good race with an amazing finish,” Tsegay exclaimed. “The 10,000 is not my usual event. I like 1500m and 5000m much more.” While short on experience over 25 laps, the 26-year-old Ethiopian is an accomplished championship racer, taking the 5000 gold and 1500 silver last year in Eugene, and the 1500 bronze at Doha in ’19.

Alicia Monson (31:32.29) produced her strongest championship effort to date finishing 5th between the Kenyan duo of Irene Kimais (31:32.19) and Agnes Ngetich (31:34.83).

Like most warm and humid championship 10,000s, this race was all about the finish. After a not-even-tepid 2:55.49 opening 800, Finland’s Camilla Richardsson led a more respectable pace, passing halfway in 16:23.55.

At 6K the Ethiopian trio took over pacing in what Tsegay termed “good team work” as she led the 7th K with Gidey and Taye taking turns at the front.

With 3 laps to go the Kenyan contingent pressed their own plan with Grace Nawowuna and Ngetich hitting the front. A lap later Monson made a move but was headed off by Gidey and Tsegay’s surge to the lead.

Sifan bided her time at the back of the lead group before lifting the pace with 500 to go, zipping up the straight to tuck in behind Gidey, Tsegay and Monson at the bell.

Hassan pulled wide around the turn and then won the furious backstretch sprint (14.16) to take the pole heading into the final turn. The three Ethiopians gave chase as Hassan zipped through the turn in 14.00, with first Taye then Gidey losing ground.

Just when Hassan seemed poised to grab gold in the first leg of her ambitious triple, Tsegay blasted the turn in 13.91 to close the gap at the head of the final straight.

“I was ready for a very fast finish,” Tsegay said. ‘I expected Hassan’s speeding up and I just waited for this moment, being ready to respond to her moving.”

Taking on Hassan with 80m to go, the two raced gloriously up the straight with the side view revealing perfectly matched sprinting strides — albeit on opposite feet.

The head-on view showed Hassan in some distress as she drifted out through the second lane, contacting her rival — and in an eye blink hitting the track. The fall left Tsegay alone at the tape, and enough room on the inside for Gidey and Taye to pass by unscathed.

Tsegay’s 25-lap potential was demonstrated in June when she soloed 29:29.73, the No. 4 all-time mark, to win the Ethiopian Trials. While well off Gidey’s 29:01.03 and Hassan’s 29:06.82 WR efforts, here in Budapest Tsegay admitted, “I was not focused on time today, but only on the gold medal. When Sifan tried to cross my line not far from the finish, I did not pay attention to that. It happens often at different competitions because every one of us always fights for the leading position. I just had in my mind to find the way to finish first.”

Hassan got up slowly to finish 11th, saying, “I am keeping my smile but it is really hard. I am very disappointed. This is sport, these things happen. I just had a bad moment. I felt really strong and tried to push in the last lap.”

Second American Elise Cranny ran with the lead group through 8K and finished 12th in 31:57.51, with Natasha Rogers 14th in 32:08.05.


(August 19)

1. Gudaf Tsegay (Eth) 31:27.18 (14.04, 27.95, 58.99, 2:09.76, 4:36.63) (16:24.38/15:02.80)

(3:40.43, 3:12.30 [6:52.73], 3:08.57 [10:01.30], 3:11.66 [13:12.96], 3:11.42 [16:24.38], 3:09.13 [19:33.51], 3:01.66 [22:35.17], 3:03.46 [25:38.63], 3:02.39 [28:41.12], 2:46.06) ;

2. Letesenbet Gidey (Eth) 31:28.16 (14.63, 28.97, 60.00, 2:10.73, 4:37.72) (16:25.38/15:02.78);

3. Ejgayehu Taye (Eth) 31:28.31 (14.42, 28.71, 59.48, 2:10.81, 4:37.97) (16:24.74/15:03.57);

4. Irene Kimais (Ken) 31:32.19 (16.00, 32.06, 62.41, 2:13.45, 4:41.22) (16:25.57/15:06.62);

5. Alicia Monson (US) 31:32.29 (15.71, 31.66, 63.85, 2:14.49, 4:40.51) (16:24.58/15:07.71);

6. Agnes Ngetich (Ken) 31:34.83 PR (16.77, 33.60, 65.86, 2:17.27, 4:43.50) (16:24.87/15:09.96);

7. Ririka Hironaka (Jpn) 31:35.12 (16.33, 32.66, 65.79, 2:16.94, 4:42.73) (16:24.35/15:10.77);

8. Jessica Warner-Judd (GB) 31:35.38 (16.82, 33.85, 66.14, 2:17.01, 4:44.10) (16:23.96/15:11.42);

9. Grace Loibach Nawowuna (Ken) 31:38.17; 10. Sarah Chelangat (Uga) 31:40.04; 11. Sifan Hassan (Neth) 31:53.35 (40.31 [fell], 54.31, 84.62, 2:35.38, 5:01.86) (16:25.72/15:27.63); 12. Elise Cranny (US) 31:57.51 (16:24.70/15:32.81); 13. Diane van Es (Neth) 32:05.85; 14. Natosha Rogers (US) 32:08.05 (16:23.81/15:44.24); 15. Camilla Richardsson (Fin) 32:15.74; 16. Stella Chesang (Uga) 32:38.90; 17. Lemlem Hailu (Eth) 32:42.78; 18. Sarah Lahti (Swe) 33:09.22; 19. Luz Mery Rojas (Per) 33:19.61; 20. Rino Goshima (Jpn) 33:20.38; 21. Maria Lucineida Da Silva (Bra) 35:54.18;… dnf—Caroline Kipkirui (Kaz).
(leader kilos: Rogers 3:37.55; Richardson 6:50.56, 9:58.89, 13:10.16, 16:23.55; Tsegay 19:33.51; Gidey 22:34.80; Taye 25:38.05; Nawowuna 28:40.38)