(Reuters) -Sifan Hassan dominated the field but came up short in her quest to break the 5,000 metres world record on Friday in her first meet since her star turn at the Tokyo Olympics.
In front of throngs of hopeful fans and on a picture perfect night at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, the Ethiopian-born Dutch runner easily won with a time of 14:27.89 but failed to best the record of 14:06.62 set by Letesenbet Gidey in 2020.
The world record attempt slipped away from Hassan with about three laps to go as the toll of running six races at the Olympics appeared to catch up with her.
“The last two laps I knew I wasn’t going to break the world record,” she said.
“I just want to finish strong and run hard. I had a really tough two weeks at the Olympics. All the emotion with the media and the stress.
“I’m in shape but I’m just tired. I’m not fresh.”
She was still cheered on to the finish by the adoring crowd of more than 5,000 on the campus of the University of Oregon.
Senbere Teferi (14:42.25) finished second and her Ethiopian compatriot Fantu Worku (14:42.85) came in third.
Hassan seized headlines in Tokyo as she attempted an unprecedented Olympic treble, winning the 10,000 metres and 5,000 metres but walking away with bronze in the 1,500.
The 28-year-old, who holds the world record in the mile, won gold medals in the 1,500 and 10,000 at the 2019 World Championships as well.
She broke the 10,000-metre world record in June in 29:06.82, only to have Ethiopia’s Gidey improve that time by 5 seconds two days later.
The two-day Diamond League event kicked off at the newly renovated Hayward Field, which weeks earlier hosted the U.S. team trials for the Tokyo Games.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles and Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by William Mallard and Jane Wardell)