Double Dutch misery in late falls at Budapest world athletics championships

By Paul Myers - RFI
Europe AP - Petr David Josek
AUG 20, 2023 LISTEN
AP - Petr David Josek

Two Dutch athletes fell to the floor agonisingly close to the finish line and gold medals on Saturday to provide a dramatic climax to the first day of action at the world athletics championships in Budapest.

Sifan Hassan crashed to the ground around 30 metres from the line as she sprinted down the final straight with Ethiopia's Guduf Tesay at the end of the women's 10,000 metres.

Tsegay went on to claim the race in 31:27.18 and as Hassan floundered on the track, Tsegay's compatriots Letesenbet Gidey and Ejgayehu Taye passed her to take silver and bronze respectively. Hassan, who won the Olympic crown in Japan, picked herself up and finished in 11th place.

"I'm really happy to have won," said Tsegay. "I wasn't thinking about the time of the race, I was just focusing on winning it. It's great that we took the one-two-three. We were talking about it before and I am glad we have done it."

As the Ethiopians were crossing the finishing line, Ryan Crouser of the United States was celebrating the successful defence of his shot put title.


The 30-year-old American claimed gold with a championship record throw of 23.51 metres. Leonardo Fabbri from Italy was second and Joe Kovacs, who pipped Crouser to the world title in Doha in 2019, was third.

Before the crowd could fully digest such electrifying vicissitudes in the 10,000 metres, Femke Bol went down as she fought off the surge of Alexis Holmes at the end of the mixed 4x400m relay.

Bol appeared to dip too early for the line and Holmes - who seemed to be losing the sprint - crossed the tape in a world record time of 3.08.80. Britain took the silver and the Czech Republic bronze.

The opening day in the Hungarian captital started with a torrential downpour which forced the postponement of the men's 20km walk.

After a two-hour delay, the race got underway and Alvaro Martin from Spain recorded a world leading time of one hour, 17 minutes and 32 seconds to win his first world title.

"I was fourth at the last Olympic Games. I missed the bronze which motivated me to work hard," Martin said following a race in which five of the first six finishers broke national records.

 "I didn't know if I could do it and to win in the time that I did is amazing."

In the men's 100m, title favourites Noah Lyles and Fred Kerley eased through their heats to qualify for Sunday's semi-finals. 

And going into Sunday's final rounds of the women's heptathlon, Anna Hall from the United States leads the field ahead of Katarina Johnson-Thompson from Britain and the American duo of Chari Hawkins and Taliyah Brooks.