Sifan Hassan is having quite a season and after her 5000m title at the European Championships in Berlin, she dropped down in distance and achieved the same outcome in the Birmingham Diamond League this afternoon over 1500m.
She knows how to bide her time so well over longer distances, as she proved in Berlin, and here at the Alexander Stadium she timed her progress perfectly throughout the 1500m, looking the winner from a long way out.
Third with 700 metres to go as Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay led, Hassan then quickened up at the bell to sit just behind the leader. With 200m left, Hassan took over and had too much speed for the rest in the home straight to triumph in 4:00.60 from Tsegay in 4:01.03 and Poland’s European silver medallist Sofia Ennaoui in a season’s best of 4:02.06.
"I am a little tired and I was sick a couple of days ago so I'm happy with how it's gone," said Hassan. "I'm happy with the time because it was a little windy but I'm really happy with it."
Any hangovers from Berlin were hardly evident for Switzerland's European 400m hurdles champion Lea Sprunger, who produced a brilliant performance to beat Jamaica’s Janieve Russell, the Commonwealth Games champion, and secure herself a place in the Diamond League final in front of her home fans in Zurich.
As she did at the European Championships, Sprunger once more dug deep to hold on as Russell came through in the home straight on her immediate outside for her first triumph in this competition.
But Sprunger has gained so much strength from that glory in Berlin. and she showed that in style to win in 54.86 from Russell in 54.91. Great Britain’s Meghan Beesley, who was also third in in Berlin, took third again in 55.83.
“It's my first win in the Diamond League and it's really nice after the European title,” said Sprunger. “The finals will be a home race for me and it will be very nice. Being the European champion was unbelievable and this coupled with it makes it a great couple of weeks.”
Beesley’s teammate Matthew Hudson-Smith produced one of the most decisive victories in Berlin but he had to settle for second today after a real battle in the home straight of the 400m.
As the field hit the home turn, it was Olympic triple jump Christian Taylor who was in front but he could not maintain the advantage. The event specialists passed him with his fellow American Fred Kerley just edging out Hudson-Smith, 45.54 to 45.59, with Taylor fourth in 45.78.
Fresh from the successful defence of her European crown, Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi was second in the pole vault which took place in blustery conditions on the back straight. Stefanidi cleared 4.52m as American Sandi Morris won with 4.62m.
It was not a Diamond League event but there was a one-two for Germany in the 100m hurdles as Pamela Dutkiewicz, the silver medallist from Berlin, once again finished in front of her teammate Cindy Roleder, who won bronze at the championships.
Dutkiewicz was first in 12.84 from Roleder in 12.96 and the Netherlands’ Nadine Visser in 13.07. “I am feeling good,” said Dutkiewicz. “It's always difficult to run after an international highlight performance in Berlin. I was tired but the run was good.”