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Two world records as Farah makes track return, Hassan sizzles

 

Britain's Mo Farah celebrates after victory and a world record in the men's one hour event at The Diamond League AG Memorial Van Damme athletics meeting at The King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on September 4, 2020. (AFP)

Britain’s Mo Farah celebrates after victory and a world record in the men’s one hour event at The Diamond League AG Memorial Van Damme athletics meeting at The King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on September 4, 2020. (AFP)

 

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Mo Farah blitzed to a new world record in the rarely-run one-hour event on his return to the track on Friday at an empty Brussels stadium that also saw Sifan Hassan set a new best in the women’s equivalent race.

Three years after having opted for road running, Farah showed no sign of cobwebs as he ran 21.330 kilometers over the 60 minutes behind closed doors at the Brussels Diamond League meet at the King Baudouin Stadium.

Farah, who won 5,000-10,000m doubles for Britain at both the London and Rio Olympics, bettered Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie’s previous best of 21.285km, set back in 2007, by 45 metres.

It was a formidable record: the equivalent of 52-and-a-half laps at an average of 67 seconds per lap, or 2:47min per kilometer

And at one stage, the 37-year-old Briton, also a six-time world gold medallist, looked to have dropped that vital programmed pace, with Belgian training partner Bashir Abdi still in the running.

There might have been no crowd thanks to coronavirus-induced health protocols, but the record attempt featured piped-in music, audience cheering and a visual time guidance aid: 400 LED lights installed in drainage covers that lit up to mirror the desired pace.

Ethiopian-born Dutch runner Hassan, like Farah once a member of the now-disbanded Nike-backed group of disgraced coach Alberto Salazar, smashed the women’s world record.

Hassan, the reigning world 1,500 and 10,000m champion, produced a thrilling kick over the final minute to see off Kenya’s world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei (who was later disqualified) and notch up 18.930km.

Hassan’s final distance added 413m — more than a lap — to the previous record of 18.517km set by Ethiopian Dire Tune Arissi in 2008.

 

 

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