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Who is going to defeat 25-year-old Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey in the 10,000m event at the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships? She, the runner with the near-flawless form? It’s doable. There are days when Gidey gets beaten, like at the 2023 Bathurst World Cross Country Championships on February 17. She was in command with the lead, then metres from the finish line collapsed from the heat and effort.

Gidey versus Hassan; there is a history

Also, in an all-out sprint, she seems beatable. For example, when she finished in third place in the 2020 (2021) Tokyo Olympic Games. Passed like a stalled car on a freeway, Hassan blew by and took the win after the final turn clocking 29:55.32. Gidey finished in 30:01.72. Bahrain’s Kalkidan Gezahegne tagged along for the ride and clocked a silver-medal-winning time of 29:56.18.

But, if Gidey can control the race, she is the best. In June 2021, during the Hengelo Diamond League meet, she took the world record rolling to a jaw-dropping 29:01.03 performance. This performance came two days after Hassan had set it on the very same track.

On June 6, 2021, Hassan set the 10,000m world record at 29:06.82. On June 8, Gidey broke Hassan’s record at the Ethiopian trials running the 25th and final lap in 1:03 — Gidey may not have a sprint-like kick, but she can surely wind it up. She was behind the world record pace at halfway but began to accelerate after 7000m. Her time for the second half of the race of 14:18. This was the eighth-fastest women’s 5000m all time. She became the first woman to hold both the 5000m and 10,000m world records since Ingrid Kristiansen from 1986–1993. She continues to hold the half-marathon world record at 1:02:52.

Hassan is signed up for three events, as she did during the 2022 Eugene World Athletics Championships. The then 29-year-old former Ethiopian (now Dutch), athlete won two gold and one bronze medals for her efforts. The question is, will she have the late race kick with having to compete in three events?

Hassan has range, she currently holds the one-mile and one-hour records at 4:12.33. A better performance from Faith Kipyegon is pending ratification at 4:07.64 from July 21. Hassan’s one-hour mark saw her cover 18.93 kilometres. She holds nine national and five area records (European).

Gudaf Tsegay

Gudaf Tsegay is always in the mix.

Tsegay just ran her lifetime best in the 10,000m on June 23 in Spain stopping the clock in the time of 29:29.73. Demonstrating range the now 26-year-old set the 1500m indoors world record at 3:53.09, which has not been bettered, since.

In Tokyo, she earned the bronze in the 5000m event clocking a 14:38.87 performance. The Ethiopian also won gold during the 2022 Eugene World Athletics Championships in the same event running 14:46.29 defeating an all-star-like cast, which included Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet (14:46.75 SB), Ethiopian Dawit Seyaum (14:47.36), Kenyan Margaret Chelimo (14:47.71 SB) and amazingly, Letesenbet Gidey (14:47.98) and Sifan Hassan (14:48.12 SB).

Tsegay either peaked on June 23 or has hit the beginning of a seasonal wave.

Kenya’s Grace Loibach Nawowuna ran 29:47.42 in her 10,000m debut to finish second behind Hassan in Hengelo. The 19-year-old finished fourth at the Bathurst World Cross Country Championships. She will make her championships track debut and may be a dark horse for the win. Third on this season’s top list, Nawowuna is the eighth-fastest 10,000m runner of all time.

Eilish McColgan has also had a 10,000m breakthrough in 2023 and she ran a British record of 30:00.86 in California in March. USA’s Alicia Monson was second in that race in an area record of 30:03.82 and she returns to World Championships action along with US champion Elise Cranny.

McColgan won the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 10,000m in dramatic fashion with a furious effort over the final laps. She owns a best of 30:00.86 from March this year, which is the UK record, having taken Paula Radcliffe’s 30:01.09.