Sifan Hassan produced a miraculous recovery to keep her audacious Olympic treble alive after a heavy fall left her 25 metres adrift of her rivals on the final lap of the women’s 1500m heats.
The Dutch athlete, who is going for gold in the 1500m, 5,000m and 10,000m, a feat never before attempted, fell to the track after a tangle of legs with 380m to go before rolling over.
Yet somehow she was able to get up and turn the afterburners on down the back straight before taking victory in 4min 05.17sec. She will next run in the 5,000m later on Monday night. Britain’s Laura Muir and Katie Snowden are also safely through but Revée Walcott-Nolan is out after coming seventh in her heat.
Elsewhere on Monday morning, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn won only the second gold medal in Puerto Rican history with a brilliant victory in the women’s 100m hurdles. Her time of 12.37sec put her well clear of the American Keni Harrison, who took silver, and Jamaica’s Megan Tapper, who claimed bronze.
Camacho-Quinn, who is the sister of the NFL linebacker Robert, burst into tears afterwards, saying: “For such a small country it gives little people hope. I am just glad I am the person to do that. I am really happy right now. Anything is possible.”
But there was disappointment for the Cuban Juan Miguel Echevarria, who was leading the long jump with a third round effort of 8.41m – until Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece matched it exactly on his final jump. The Greek won gold by virtue of having a better second-best jump – 8.15 to 8.09. The Cuban’s compatriot Maykel Masso won bronze.
Meanwhile the 18-year-old Namibian Christine Mboma, who is banned from competing in the 400m under World Athletics rules as she is an athlete with differences in sex development (DSD), ran the fastest time in the heats of the women’s 200m in 22.11sec, a world under-20 record.
Niger’s Aminatou Seyni, who was also not allowed to compete due to high testosterone levels, came third in the same heat in 22.72.
Mboma, 18, is the world junior record holder for 400m and the fastest in the world this year. However World Athletics rules state that DSD athletes must reduce their testosterone levels to less than 5 nmol/L if they want to compete in elite events between 400m and a mile.
In 2019 the court of arbitration for sport accepted the policy was justified because more than 99% of females have around 0.12-1.79 nmol/L of testosterone in their bodies – while DSDs are in the male range of 7.7-29.4 nmol/L.
It also agreed that DSD athletes, including Caster Semenya, the 800m Olympic champion at the 2016 Rio Games, had a significant advantage in size, strength and power from puberty onwards because of their elevated testosterone levels.
However, it is not clear why, if those testosterone advantages are so significant, they apply only between 400m and a mile.
The defending 200m champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah, who won a second successive Olympic 100m title on Saturday, also went through along with Britain’s Beth Dobbin. However Shericka Jackson, the 100m bronze medallist, is out after jogging to the line in 23.26sec and getting pipped for third position.