Melissa Courtney-Bryant Bounces Back From Olympic Heartbreak To Claim Stunning Win

Melissa Courtney-Bryant. (Photo by VINCENT JANNINK/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

Melissa Courtney-Bryant Bounces Back From Olympic Heartbreak To Claim Stunning Win


By David Williams

Melissa Courtney-Bryant may have missed out on Olympic selection but the Welsh Commonwealth Games star claimed a big scalp running at the FBK Games in the Netherlands on Sunday.

Courtney-Bryant – who was edged out of Great Britain selection for Paris at the trials – beat double Olympic champion Sifan Hassan in the 1500m.

The Team Wales athlete – who was within a second of qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Games, but finished fourth when needing a top-two finish in the 1500m – held off her rivals down the home straight to win in 4:03.58.

Hassan, in her last competition before the Olympic Games, finished fifth.

On a day when Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon had improved her own 1500m world record to 3:49.04, 2019 world champion Sifan Hassan faded to fifth in that discipline in Hengelo.

It was a result that may influence the 31-year-old’s choice of events at the Olympics in Paris, where she may now decide not to prioritise improving the 1500m bronze she earned in 2021 at the Tokyo Games, where she won over 5000m and 10,000m.

Hassan, who had decided against running the 10,000m the evening before, was overtaken around the final bend by Courtney-Bryant and USA’s Dani Jones, who was second in 4:03.78.

Two others moved past Hassan in the final 50 metres – Yolanda Ngarambe of Sweden (4:04.50), and home runner Maureen Koster (4:04.59).

Hassan was characteristically enigmatic afterwards. “I think I did my warm-up too early and then I cooled down before the race,” she said.

“Everything went well, but I just made a mistake to cool myself down too much.

“I don’t think it says anything about the shape I’m in. I still have three weeks to have good training and then I will decide which distances I will run in Paris. At this moment I don’t have a goal for Paris, but for now I want to be the best in all distances and then I will decide.”

Britain’s world and Olympic 800m silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson, who retained her European title in Rome last month, won in classic fashion as she saw off the lingering challenge of South Africa’s Prudence Sekgodiso, a winner at the Marrakech and Oslo Diamond League meetings.

Hodgkinson, who ran a world-leading 1:55.78 in Eugene earlier in the season, pulled away in the final straight to finish 10 metres clear in 1:57.36, with Sekgodiso clocking 1:58.75.

“I wanted a little bit more with the time but I haven’t properly gone after an 800m since Eugene and that was such a different race so I’m happy to be back out here doing my best,” Hodgkinson said.

“I was glad I decided to run the Europeans and now I’m just fully focused on Paris and everything is going well. I just have more race before: the London Diamond League. I can’t wait, that’s an iconic one so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Asked again to comment on the absence of the defending champion, Athing Mu, from Paris following her fall at the US Trials, Hodgkinson responded: “Honestly, I was gutted because I feel like that race has been really hyped up and it’s an unfortunate thing that has happened.

“I’m really sad not to see her there but I’m sure we’ll have many battles in the future.”


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