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Chicago and London marathon champion Sifan Hassan has dropped out of Saturday’s World Cross Country Championships to focus on the Paris Olympic Games.

The 31-year-old double Olympic champion expressed the need to recover from the marathons and focus her energy on Paris. In March, she finished the Tokyo Marathon in fourth place, which is sub-standard for her.

The news of Hassan skipping the championships has hit social media hard and fast. The below Dutch language X post from Eurosport Nederland translates to English as “Sifan Hassan decides not to participate in the World Cross Country Championships in Belgrade.”

“I’ve changed my plans and decided to continue training over competing at the World Cross Country Championships. I prefer to give my body more time to recover from the marathon and focus on what is ahead,” she shared over social media.

Her range is of the best in the world. Hassan, who represents The Netherlands has also won two World Athletics Championships gold medals, one silver and three bronze. She also has one bronze to go along with her Olympic golds. Her global championship medals have come in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m events. Meanwhile, her 800m best is a world-class 1:56.81.

Hassan won her first two marathons in 2023 in London and Chicago six months apart. In Chicago she stopped to stretch and won in a near sprint, relaxed and well-composed. Hassan clocked 2:18:33 and 2:13:44 in the two marathons, respectively.

Hassan bowing out of World Cross will allow defending champion Beatrice Chebet of Kenya a clearer path to the finish line. During the 2023 event, she won after Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey collapsed just metres before the finish. It was Gidey’s race until that point. Both are back, as are a host of other world-class talent.

Defending champion Kiplimo looking for a repeat

The countdown continues to the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, which is scheduled for 30 March 2024 in Friendship Park, at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. The list of competitors for the 45th edition of the global event is led by none other than defending senior men’s champion and world half marathon record-holder Jacob Kiplimo.

The Ugandan, born in November 2000, is a member of the Sebei people, and he grew up in Bukwo on Mount Elgon, living at high altitude.

The 2024 World Cross Country Championships is happening on Saturday in Belgrade, Serbia.

The event

Saturday, March 30 local time (Central European Time)

  • 11:00 Women U20 race final (6km)
  • 11:35 Men U20 race final (8km)
  • 12:15 Mixed relay final (4x2km)
  • 12:45 Women senior race final (10km)
  • 13:30 Men’s senior race final (10km)

How to watch

World Athletics will stream the World Cross Country Championships Belgrade 24 on their Youtube and on Inside Track, which globally will be available in most regions globally (geo-restrictions may apply.)

Several local broadcasters will also show the event live or delayed. find the full list of the local broadcasters here.

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