Sifan Hassan takes 10,000m gold, her third medal; Men’s relay takes silver & gold for Ajax player
The Dutch Olympic squad had another strong day in Tokyo on Saturday. Sifan Hassan continued her spectacular performance by winning a second gold medal, and the men’s relay team took a surprising second place finish in the 4x400 meter. Ajax footballer Antony also took a gold medal playing for Brazil’s national team.
The 10,000 meter gold goes to Dutch phenom Hassan
Sifan Hassan has won her second gold medal on the last day of the Athletics competition of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The 28-year-old triumphed in the final of the 10,000 meters: 29.55.32. She won the medal a day after the 1,500 meters final, in which she took the bronze. Earlier in the tournament, she grabbed the gold in the 5,000 meters.
"I'm so glad it's done and it's over. I'm finished, and now I can simply rest,” she told NOS after the race. "I have no words for this," Hassan added. "I said I would go for three medals and I did it. It can't get any better than this. I couldn't have dreamed of this."
She has won 17 medals at international events since receiving her Dutch citizenship in 2013. Hassan fled Ethiopia thirteen years ago, and sought asylum in the Netherlands. She took up running some time later, once she had more space to participate in sports after leaving the cramped conditions of the asylum reception center in Assen for a proper home in Leeuwarden.
Hassan will carry the Dutch flag at the closing ceremony on Sunday.
During the 10,000 meter race on Saturday, Hassan finished in front of Kalkidan Gezahegne from Bahrain (29.56.18) and Ethiopia's Letesenbet Gidey took third (30.01.72). Hassan placed her decisive attack on the last lap.
Hassan previously reigned supreme in Tokyo in the 5,000 meters final. Nobody had an answer to her forceful acceleration in the final lap. She also saved her attack for the final lap in the 10,000 meter competition. Gidey, the world record holder, led almost the entire race, but couldn't compete with Hassan's impressive sprint.
Hassan was at or near the front for a long time with Gidey, Gezahegne and Hellen Obiri, but three-quarters of the way Obiri had to fall back. The trio competed for the medals in the exciting final phase and that three-way battle was decided convincingly in Hassan's favor.
The Dutch athlete was the first to combine podium finishes in the 1,500, 5000 and 10,000 meters at an Olympic Games. She completed that unique trilogy with three medals. Only Fanny Blankers-Koen won more Olympic medals for the Netherlands in Athletics. She won four golds at the 1948 London Games.
Hassan only added the 1,500 meters to her program in Tokyo. It is her favorite distance; she is also the reigning world champion. Despite a crash in the series, she effortlessly qualified for the final, but she lacked the strength to go for the gold. Kenyan Faith Kipyegon Briton Laura Muir overtook her.
Hassan felt physically fatigued, but showed herself combative after the final of the 1,500 meters on Friday. The defeat gave her the energy to go the limit in the 10,000 meters, she said before the race. She predicted at least a bronze medal with a 90 percent chance of victory a day later.
Silver for 4x400 men’s relay
The Dutch men's team won a surprise silver medal in the 4x400 meter relay at the Olympic Games. Liemarvin Bonevacia, Terrence Agard, Tony van Diepen and Ramsey Angela finished second behind the United States in the final.
The Dutch men smashed their own Dutch record with 2:57.18. They were only one and a half seconds slower than the Americans: 2:55.70.
Starter Bonevacia was slowest on his lap (45.02) and he also fell at the handoff. However, he did not hinder Agard, and Agard started to catch up. His split time of 43.76 was the second fastest of all 32 runners in the final.
The Netherlands was in fourth place halfway through, after which Van Diepen (44.28) quickly put the team in third place and beckoned a medal. Angela (44.12) finished the job; he pipped Bayapo Ndori from Botswana at the finish. The foursome from Botswana finished 0.09 slower.
The Dutch men then celebrated extensively and were also congratulated by the women’s relay team, who had also run the final of the 4x400 meters shortly before.
The men’s relay team in the 4x400 meters already made a name for themselves in two international tournaments in the run-up to the Tokyo Games. The men's team with Jochem Dobber, Bonevacia, Angela and Van Diepen, won gold in May at the World Relay Championship in Chorzow, Poland. In March, the same foursome also grabbed gold in the 4x400 meters at the European Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland.
Bonevacia was rested in the series because he had finished eighth in the final of the 400 meters the day before. He replaced Dobber in the final.
The Dutch foursome brought the number of Athletics medals in Tokyo to the unreal number of seven. Sifan Hassan took three places, Femke Bol won bronze in the 400 meters hurdles and Anouk Vetter and Emma Oosterwegel took silver and bronze respectively in the heptathlon.
Gold for Amsterdam footballer
Ajax striker Antony also took a gold medal on Saturday. The footballer was on the field for nearly all of Brazil's extra time victory over Spain.
The Brazilian men's national team won their second-straight Olympics gold with the 2-1 win in Yokohama.