Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay surged down the home straight to win the women’s world 5,000m title in Eugene on Saturday.
Tsegay timed a winning 14min 46.29sec for gold, with Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet claiming silver in 14:46.75 and another Ethiopian, Dawit Seyaum, taking bronze (14:47.36).
Olympic champion Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands could only finish sixth, meaning she will depart Oregon not having made the podium in either the 5,000 or 10,000m.
Hassan produced a stunning 1,500m-10,000m double at the 2019 World Championships in Doha before winning 5,000m and 10,000m gold and 1,500m bronze at last year’s Olympics in Tokyo.
“I started to train like two months ago and today, I did my best and I gave everything,” said Hassan.
“I did the race smart, did not make any mistake. For me, it is important if I give everything and race smart and it does not matter what the position is. It is what it is.”
Hassan added: “I really overworked last year so I wanted to get a break for my mental part because athletics is not only about running but also about motivation.
“It is so hard to get motivated again. I took an almost seven-month break. I am happy to be back and I will try for more golds next year.”
Tsegay, the world indoor 1500m champion, said her training over that distance had been beneficial.
“It helps spring on the home stretch,” the gold medal winner said. “I am happy for this result. This win is for all of Ethiopia.
“I was trying to control the race from first place during the run so it was very hard for me. But that was our plan because I felt in shape and my victory confirms it was a good plan.
“I know that Sifan is a great athlete and she is also a 1500m runner so she has the speed. When she came in front, I speeded up even more and won the medal.”
The race, missing former two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya – who won 10,000m silver behind Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey here, kicked off at a sedate pace as no one seemed willing to take up the challenge.
Seyaum was nominally in front, joined on the second lap by Tsegay as the pack was at times four abreast.
Gidey also appeared as the Ethiopian trio looked to get a grip on race management.
Tsegay, the world indoor 1500m champion, spurted to split the pack, Hassan well towards the back, while Gidey took the pack through the line with six laps to run.
With two laps to go of the 12-and-a-half lap race at Hayward Field, the pack had been cut to eight.
Hassan made her move in the run-up to the bell for the final lap, but Tsegay responded aggressively, holding on to a narrow lead.
Hassan surged again down the back straight on the inside, taking the lead briefly before Tsegay and Chebet drew level and then passed her.
In the sprint for the line, Hassan fell further back to ensure her medal-winning prowess at the Doha worlds and Tokyo Olympics was not replicated.