23 May, 2019

Forged in Fire: Sifan Hassan

  • BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: Sifan Hassan of Netherlands in the Women's 1500m during the Muller Grand Prix Birmingham IAAF Diamond League event at Alexander Stadium on August 18, 2018 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stephen Pond - British Athletics/British Athletics via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sifan Hassan

Chances are, if Sifan Hassan is competing at an IAAF Diamond League in Birmingham, she’s going to top the podium.

There have been three visits to Alexander Stadium for the Dutch star in recent years – and three golds.

As we count down to this year’s much-anticipated edition, we’re taking a look back at a few Muller Grand Prix Birmingham favourites, with Hassan at the top of the list.

The first win

In 2019, Hassan is a global star and a conqueror of many an event over many a distance – the current European champion over 5,000m.

Back in 2015, she had already been crowned European champion over 1500m (in 2014), and it was over this distance that she competed in Birmingham.

Prior to her season debut that year, Hassan had admitted she doesn’t always start well in the first race of the year and in fact, it took her four attempts to get that first win, but the Dutch runner finally achieved the feat in the Midlands in a time of 4:00.30.

She had 2013 world champion Abeba Aregawi for company but the Swede never seemed like a serious threat to Hassan, who recorded the fourth-fastest finish of her life at that time.

Meeting record

Hassan didn’t compete at the Birmingham Diamond League event in 2016 but returned in 2017, and this time, at 3000m.

In the interim, she’d won bronzes at the World Championships in both the 1500m and 5000m but faced a highly-competitive field without having run a 3000m in three years.

Hassan timed her sprint to the line to perfection for a meeting-record performance (8:28.90) while Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen also set a new national record of 8:29.89 for second.

After her win, Hassan commented: “It has been three years since I last ran a 3000m, so I enjoyed the opportunity to run the distance here. “Racing over distances like the 800m and 3000m always surprises me but it was a fast race and I ran a very good time. The fact that it is a national record and meeting record is a nice bonus for me.”

A hat-trick of wins

Fast-forward 12 months and the Dutch star was back at Muller Grand Prix Birmingham and in a quest to make it three out of three.

Hassan had impressively won the inaugural Millicent Fawcett Mile in London less than two weeks prior, in a time of 4:14.71, the fourth-quickest women’s mile time in history, and was relishing a return to Alexander Stadium.

She stepped down to 1500m just weeks after her gold-medal-winning performance in the 5000m at the Europeans in Berlin.

Hassan gave off a strong aura of superiority as she let 2016 World Indoor bronze medallist Gudaf Tsegay do most of the work for her before speeding past her as they entered the home straight, and taking the victory in 4:00.60.

Hat-trick complete, she solidified her legacy as a true Alexander Stadium star.

Tickets for the event are available via https://www.theticketfactory.com/british-athletics/online/