Hassan is digging for more gold

Hassan is digging for more gold
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Dutch star Sifan Hassan seems to be in a league of her own on her way to Prague as she set a new European under-23 indoor record in 4:00.46 with victory in the Stockholm XL-Galan meeting on Wednesday evening.

Sifan Hassan is on course for a third gold medal in 14 months after ripping up the Dutch national records once again.

Two weeks ahead of the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague, the middle-distance runner is ready to become a double European 1500m champion.

Hassan, who had already lowered the Dutch mark and European under-23 indoor record with 4:02.57 in Karlsruhe at the end of last month, has now taken that time to 4:00.46 with victory in the XL-Galan in Stockholm.

She won from Betlhem Desalegn, of the United Arab Emirates, in 4:05.61 with Sweden’s Meraf Bahta third in 4:06.42.

This blistering form will make her one of the big names to watch in the 02 Arena at the championships which run from 6-8 March as she looks to maintain her superb form at the major European events.

Hassan triumphed in the under-23 race at the 2013 SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, before showing her brilliance on the track in August at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, when she won the 1500m gold in 4:04.18 and took silver in the 5000m.

Sifan Hassan defeats Abeba Aregawi in the Zurich 1500m final:

With Prague so close, many of the teams will be selected in the next few days and Russia have already chosen 44 of their squad members, naming 26 men and 18 women, after the Russian Indoor Championships in Moscow.

They include a series of athletes at the top of the European rankings - and their head coach knows all about success on this stage.

Yuriy Borzakovskiy was appointed to the role at the start of the month and he will bring into the position his experience of winning 800m gold at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gent in 2000 - his first major title when he was only 18 - and his glory in the same event nine years later in Turin.

He was also more recently crowned European outdoor champion in Helsinki 2012:

We don’t have a medal plan for Prague but there are four European season leaders in triple jumpers Yekaterina Koneva and Dmitriy Sorokin, pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova and Yelena Korobkina. That is not a bad prospect.Yuriy Borzakovskiy