In-form Hassan to miss world half-marathon championships

Paris (AFP) –


In-form Dutch runner Sifan Hassan will miss Saturday's World Athletics Half-Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland, after announcing that she had ended her season early.

Hassan, who is the world record holder for both the 5km road race and the mile, both set in 2019, set another world record in this coronavirus-affected season, setting a new best for the one hour run in Brussels in September.

"It has been a tough year, the uncertainty of competitions going ahead was always part of my training regime," said the Ethiopian-born Hassan, who also smashed Paula Ratcliffe's long-standing European record for the women's 10,000m on Saturday.

"To focus and push yourself every day in training is difficult, especially when you don't know if it will be possible to deliver performances in a competition environment."

Hassan, who was coached by the now-banned Alberto Salazar, added: "The season was short, but the lead up to it was long. Therefore I decided to give myself some rest and focus for next year.

"I want to make sure I will be in top shape physically and mentally next year at the Olympic Games."

Hassan said her performances this season had given her "good faith that I am able to reach my highest potential, also in uncertain times. Therefore I look forward to next year with a lot of confidence".

Hassan, one of the world's most gifted athletes over a wide-range of events, holds the European record for the half-marathon, having timed 1hr 05min 15sec in Copenhagen in 2018.