Hassan and Lasitskene set world leads

Sifan Hassan runs world-lead in Hengelo
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Sifan Hassan improved her world-leading 1500m mark to 3:56.14 at the FBK Games in Hengelo

World bronze medallist Sifan Hassan gave the home crowd real excitement as she chased her Dutch 1500m record of 3:56.05 at the FBK Games in Hengelo on Sunday (11). 

Hassan arrived fresh from the Rome Diamond League where she clocked 3:56.22 on Thursday night and the world bronze medallist went even faster in Hengelo, improving her world-lead and the meeting record to 3:56.14. Hassan missed her national record by a tantalising 0.09 but her recent series of performances demonstrates she is back in top shape after missing out on the medals at the Olympic Games last summer. 

Behind her, there were more superb European performances with Great Britain’s two-time Olympic finalist Laura Weightman fourth in 4:01.95 while Iceland’s Anika Hinriksdottir improved her national record by nine seconds to 4:06.43 as she finished 10th. 

Mariya Lasitskene is heading towards the World Championships in London in phenomenal form as she bids to successfully defend her high jump title - and with it could be a world record. 

Lasitskene, now competing as an authorised neutral athlete, took her season to a new level by clearing a personal best of 2.04m. It was also the best jump in the world for almost five years. 

Lasitskene attempted to go beyond Bulgaria’s Stefka Kostadinova’s long-standing world record of 2.09m by raising the bar to 2.10m and she will be determined to try again in a summer where she is the only woman to have gone over two metres. Along with this jump, she has also cleared 2.03m and had two more efforts at 2.00m, leading the way with the four best jumps in the world outdoors. 

Dafne Schippers maintained her good form as she won the 100m in 11.08 while Thijmen Kupers produced a big surprise, achieving a fine home win in an 800m personal best of 1:44.99. 

And as Bahrain’s Sadik Mikhou won the 1500m in a world-leading 3:31.34, there was a national record of 3:33.70 for Belgium’s Ismale Debjani in fourth. 

Britain’s Danny Talbot looked good as he won the 200m in 20.36 into a headwind and among the European victories, Poland’s Justyna Swiety won the 400m in a lifetime best and meeting record of 51.15 and Germany’s women ran a European-leading 4x100m relay of 42.25.

Vloon’s big breakthrough in Zweibrucken

Dutch athletics history was created in Zweibrucken, Germany on Saturday (10) when Menno Vloon broke the national pole vault record on a day he smashed his personal best three times. 

Initially, he equalled his outdoor lifetime best with 5.60m before improving to 5.70m and then 5.85m at his first attempt to move to third on the world lists which are still led by Sweden’s Armand Duplantis with 5.90m. Vloon also improved the Dutch record of 5.81m which was set by former world champion Rens Blom in 2004. 

This was some statement from Vloon, 23, who also tried at 5.91m. He also beat the French duo Kevin Menaldo (5.70m) and Valentin Lavillenie (5.60m) as Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe, the 2013 world champion, no-heighted at 5.50m.

Hann clocks 48.40 European-lead

It has been a long while since France was a dominant force in the men’s 400m hurdles but the country sits atop of the European lists courtesy of Mamadou Kasse Hann. 

At the AP Meeting Atletica in Geneva on Saturday, Hann achieved one of the best wins of his career, triumphing in a personal best of 48.40 to beat Switzerland’s 2014 European champion Kariem Hussein (49.02) and Irish record-holder and Olympic fourth-placer Thomas Barr (49.39). 

For a country which has become more accustomed to success at the 110m hurdles since the retirement of world and European champion 400m hurdles champion Stephane Diagana, this performance could be a noteworthy victory with the European Athletics Team Championships Super League in Lille Metropole approaching.

The women’s race also saw a breakthrough moment for Petra Fontanive, who beat her Swiss teammate and European bronze medallist and teammate Lea Sprunger. In the process, she broke the 55-second barrier for the first time with 54.56 to Sprunger’s 54.63.

Olympic finalist Fabienne Schlumpf also set a Swiss steeplechase record of 9:26.86 in Belfort on Friday evening.

Farah’s 3000m tribute to Bolt

Mo Farah knows all about the adulation of a home crowd after his 5000m and 10,000m double at the Olympic Games in London in 2012 and he can expect much of the some noise and excitement when he defends his worlds titles there in August. 

But as he maintained his progress towards the World Championships with a 3000m triumph at the Racers Grand Prix in Kingston on Saturday in a Jamaican all-comers’ record of 7:41.20, it was all about hailing the superstar of the show – Usain Bolt. 

“It was just about having fun and giving something back. It wasn’t about running fast. Usain is a good friend of mine,” said Farah.

Glory for Tomala and Virbalyte-Dimsiene

On Friday (9), Alytus staged the 43rd edition of the International Race Walking Festival, a European Athletics Road walking permit event. Poland’s David Tomala triumphed in the men’s 20km and Lithuania’s Brigita Virbalyte-Dimsiene won the women’s event. 

Tomala was first in 1:24:41 from Italy’s Leonardo Dei Tos (1:24:44) and Yauheni Zalesski, of Belarus (1:28:05), while Virbalyte-Dimsiene, who helped Lithuania to an historic team medal at the European Race Walking Cup in Podebrady last month, secured victory in 1:33:54.