An anomaly never occurs, it is extremely rare, and this time it happened twice, in the same country, in barely half an hour. How is it explained? It is impossible. The Netherlands lived the worst night in the history of their athletics due to two falls. they went to the ground Sifan Hassan when the gold was going to be hung in the 10,000 meters and Femke Bol when he was going to close the victory in the mixed 4×400 relay. Both one step away from the goal. Both for no reason. His country was able to finish on Saturday at the top of the medal table, with two golds and ended with nothing, absolutely empty. In the bowels of the National Athletics Center in Budapest, late at night, a Dutch coach was crying with sheer helplessness.
It was 9:26 p.m. when the drama broke out. First, Hassan, double Olympic champion at the Tokyo 2020 Games, fell just a few steps away, 10 meters, 0.1% of the course, from recovering the gold in the 10,000 meters that she lost last year in Eugene and to confirm his legend. This season she had dared to debut in the marathon and had done it successfully, winning in London, but she was capable of returning to the track to add more milestones. The only doubt was the resistance posed by the Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay.
In the middle of the straight, elbow to elbow with her, Tsegay threatened to overtake her and snatch the victory, when suddenly the unexpected happened. Sifan Hassan fell down. As simple as that. There was a light touch with Tsegay that unbalanced her, but she just fell over. From the ground, the Dutchwoman watched as Tsegay won gold and also as the Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey he took the money and how Ejgayehu Taye completed the triplet for the African country. Only when he got up, cleaned his bloody right elbow and finished the course was he able to close his result: eleventh, his worst race since the 2016 Rio Olympics, when he was still trying in the 800 meters.
Gidey, her great rival in recent years, with whom the victory had been discussed, went to look for her and accompanied her to the end in a beautiful gesture. The two adversaries walked through the final stretch until Hassan entered resignedly, hugging Gidey, smiling at her nerves. The only thing that could make her worse is that her compatriots in the mixed 4×400 relay relive her misfortune a few minutes later.
At 9:52 p.m., when the Dutch delegation was still crying about what happened to Hassan, Femke Bol, the country’s prodigy, the young woman called to rewrite the history of the 400 meters, fell in the same way. It was even a little later, even more dramatic. The Netherlands not only caressed the gold, they also caressed the world record, and ended up disqualified.