Sifan Hassan on her way to winning the 1500m in Hengelo (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Hengelo, Netherlands

Hassan targeting European 5000m record in Hengelo

European champion Sifan Hassan hopes to provide one of the highlights of the FBK Games when she attempts to break her own continental 5000m record at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Hengelo on Sunday (9).

Hassan set the current European record of 14:22.34 in Rabat last year. Instead of pacemakers, wavelight technology will be used in Hengelo to help the athletes follow the desired target pace.

“It will be good for the competition in Hengelo if I do beautiful things there,” Hassan said on Friday at the pre-meeting press conference. “Running in the Netherlands is fun. I am starting the race on my European record pace and I want to break that. With the wavelight I can keep the pace I have to run.”

Earlier this year, Hassan set a world 5km record of 14:44 on the roads. She followed it with season’s bests of 1:05:45 for the half marathon, 31:18.12 for 10,000m and 4:00.53 for 1500m. European silver medallist Eilish McColgan and Kenyan duo Margaret Chelimo and Janet Kisa are also in the field.

The men’s 5000m also looks set to be an exciting event. Telahun Haile Bekele, who surprisingly won the 5000m in a world-leading PB of 12:52.98 at yesterday’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome, will line up for his second race at the distance within four days.

Two of his namesakes – Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele – have set world records in Hengelo, but Bekele may not be chasing records so soon after his effort in the Italian capital. He’ll be up against African U20 10,000m champion Nicholas Kimeli and Ethiopian cross-country champion Mogos Tuemay.

In the men’s 800m, European indoor champion Alvaro de Arriba will hope that the pace will be quick enough to break his PB of 1:44.99. The Spaniard will face Kenya’s Cornelius Tuwei and Oceanian record-holder Joseph Deng.

Schippers seeks fifth win

In recent years Dafne Schippers has become a permanent fixture at the FBK Games. The two-time world 200m champion will be making her eighth appearance at the meeting and will be looking for a fifth successive victory.

“For me it is great to run at such a big competition in front of my own audience in the Netherlands,” said Schippers, who will contest the 100m in Hengelo. “What’s extra special is that there is a ‘Dafne’ section on the tribune to get all my fans together.”

Schippers will face four other women with sub-11-second PBs, including US duo Morolake Akinosun and Mikiah Brisco, Ecuador’s Angela Tenorio and China’s Wei Yongli. But Gabrielle Thomas and Brazil’s South American champion Vitoria Christina Rosa could be Schippers’ biggest challengers.

In the men’s 100m, Arthur Cisse of the Ivory Coast takes on USA’s Mike Rodgers. Cisse recently clocked a season’s best of 10.01, but Rodgers has the fastest PB of the field at 9.85.

Baboloki Thebe of Botswana has the fastest season’s best and PB of the men’s 400m field. Based on current form, USA’s Vernon Norwood and Michael Cherry should also challenge for the victory. Spain’s 44.73 performer Oscar Husillos and Dutch record-holder Liemarvin Bonevacia are also in the line-up.

After hitting a barrier in Rome and falling out of contention, Orlando Ortega will be keen to make amends in the men’s 110m hurdles in Hengelo. But world record-holder Aries Merritt and African record-holder Antonio Alkana will also be formidable opponents.

Olympic champion Brianna McNeal will face European indoor champion Nadine Visser of the Netherlands in the women’s 100m hurdles. Two-time world indoor champion Nia Ali and 2015 world silver medallist Cindy Roleder are also in the field, along with USA’s Amber Hughes who recently improved to 12.74.

Long jump innovations

The men’s long jump in Hengelo will be held with a slightly adapted format.

After the first three rounds, athletes will go head-to-head in the fourth round, so the athlete in first place will jump against the athlete in eighth; the jumper in second will face the athlete in seventh and so on.

The four winners from the fourth round go through to the fifth round, where the same rule applies, leaving just two men to contest the sixth and final round.

World champion Luvo Manyonga, fellow South African Ruswahl Samaai, Olympic champion Jeff Henderson and European indoor silver medallist Thobias Montler are among the athletes taking part in the unique competition

In addition, 2006 world indoor champion Ignisious Gaisah will compete in a sensor-equipped Xsens suit, through which movements such as posture, hovering phase, drop angle and centre of gravity will be analysed immediately after the jump and made visible to the public on a large screen.

Elsewhere, world champion Sam Kendricks starts as favourite in the men’s pole vault, Olympic silver medallist Mirela Demireva leads the women’s high jump field, and Dutch sprinter Lisanne de Witte will race a solar-powered car over 300m.

Eric Roeske for the IAAF