Tokyo Olympics: the puzzling bet of Sifan Hassan

It could be one of the thrills in athletics at the Tokyo Olympics. The Dutch Sifan Hassan sets out in search of an unprecedented treble over 1500m, 5000m and 10 km. And this ambition questions.

Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo.

Sifan Hassan has already laid the foundation stone for his incredible challenge. The Dutch won, in the dampness of Tokyo, the 5,000-meter final on Monday evening, on the tartan of the Olympic stadium, with a time of 14: 36.79. Already in the morning, during qualifying for the 1500m, she had given a glimpse of her immense determination. She fell on the last lap, stumbling over one of her competitors in front of her. Like a flash, she got up and despite the delay, the Dutch still won easily in her series. 

Chain efforts

This treble over extremely demanding distances will require him to run almost every day until Saturday (except Thursday). Many say it is humanly impossible but Sifan Hassan, 28, has already shown that she can string together efforts, disgusting her opponents, as she did in her first final. At the Doha Worlds two years ago, in the heat there too, she achieved the 1500m / 10km double.

His performances have sometimes been surrounded by doubts because of his past. The cross-country skier was trained by the sulfurous Alberto Salazar, suspended two years ago for «organization and incitement to prohibited doping conduct». This is the famous case of the Oregon Project, a training group of athletes in the United States supported by the firm Nike, which was forced to close it following these revelations. 

At the time, Sifan Hassan had been under fire for questions and criticism. “The biggest pressure moment of my life,” she said in reference to these questions about her work with Salazar. «But I managed to get out of it,» she adds. «So Tokyo will be easy.» It’s one way of looking at it.