Sifan Hassan not only felt joy toward her gold medal on the 1,500 meters at the World Athletics World Championship in Doha on Saturday. The Dutch also showed anger in Doha that she was associated with doping this week by the suspension of her coach.
"I had a very difficult week. I was so angry. But I think that anger helped me too," said Hassan. "I thought: I am a clean athlete and I am going to show the world what clean means. I wanted to show what hard work can bring."
The 26-year-old athlete learned Tuesday that her American coach Alberto Salazar was suspended for four years by the US anti-doping agency USADA, because he allegedly violated the doping rules for 2016.
Hassan has only been training under Salazar in Oregon since the beginning of 2017, but when she chose the American she already knew that an investigation was underway for him. Due to her link with the punished coach, the performance of the Dutch was also questioned in the last few days.
"I heard a lot of things last week that made me very angry," said Hassan. "I have been in the world top for almost five years. Do those people think that I have not been tested? I am constantly tested. And they can test me every day if they want to."
"I have been clean all my life and I have been a top athlete since 2014. And now all of a sudden people all start proclaiming bullshit."
Sifan Hassan with the Dutch flag after her victory in the 1,500 meters. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Hassan writes history with gold at 1,500 meters
Hassan wrote history in Doha on Saturday. She is the first athlete ever to be world champion on both the 1,500 and 10,000 meters, the distance that she also won with great force majeure last Saturday.
"I am so happy. I never dreamed that I could get the double 1,500 and 10,000 meters apart. It is incredible, I have taken everything out. This is a special medal for me."
Hassan was in a class of its own at 1,500 meters. She quickly took the lead and with a top time of 3.51.95, she was well ahead of the Kenyan Faith Kipyegon (second in 3.54.22) and the Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay (third, 3.54.38).
Hassan recorded a championship record and a big Dutch record. Her old top time was 3.55.30, walked in July in Monaco. The world record of the Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba (3.50.07) remained out of reach.
See also: Profile Sifan Hassan: 'It's for her winning or the guillotine'