Europe's best female over 1500m has proven she is as good as anyone on the world stage too, leading the 2015 indoor world rankings and topping the Diamond Race standings after three events. Worryingly for her competitors, Dutch delight Sifan Hassan says her best this season is still to come.

It’s been a remarkable 18 months for Sifan Hassan. The Dutchwoman is on a hot streak that extends back to 2013. In December that year she won the under-23 race at the European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade at a canter.

Last year she showed her track credentials. She posted the fastest 1500m time in the world for 2014 with a blistering 3:57.00 at the Paris Diamond League meet in July. In August she won 1500m gold and 5000m silver at the European champs in Zurich, and rounded off her track season with a win at the IAAF Continental Cup.

Her indoor campaign was just as fruitful. She ran the two fastest 1500m times in the world this year – a 4:02.57 in Karlsruhe followed by a 4:00.46 in Stockholm, putting her eighth on the all time list – before winning 1500m gold at the European indoor champs in Prague to confirm her as the continent’s best over the distance outdoors and in.

And now the 22-year-old is proving herself to be a force on the global circuit too. In Rome last week she dipped under the 4-minute mark for the first time this season with a 3:59.68 to claim second behind a flying Jenny Simpson. Just three days later in Birmingham, she ran a 4:00.30 despite conditions being far from ideal.

Hassan was simply too good for the competition at both the indoor and outdoor European champs

“It was very windy and we had only one pacemaker,” she says of that Birmingham win. “I had to push all on my own. It’s so difficult with the wind to run under four minutes.

“I think if it hadn’t been so windy, I could have run under four.”

It was a defiant piece of front running; perfectly-paced and executed with the efficiency of a performer who has honed their craft. Back in May she came second in the opening Diamond League race of the season in Doha, and her consistency since has seen her rise to top of the overall Diamond Race standings.

The impressive start to her outdoor season comes in spite of a transition from the indoors that was disrupted by illness. Yet she feels confident that she can still run her best times later on in the summer, just in time for the world championships.

“If you look at last year during competitions in May and June, I was like number five, number six,” she says. “In July and August I ran my season's best.

“I did the same last year [build towards the summer championships]. Only this year I have run less because after Prague I was sick. Now we start the really hard work.”

Sifan Hassan ()

Hassan has already performed outstandingly well in the Dutch vest and is targeting a world championship medal in Beijing in August

Hassan’s young life was spent in Ethiopia, home to some of the finest female middle distance runners on the planet. But after having lived and trained in the Netherlands since 2008 when she arrived as a refugee, she proudly identifies as a Dutch national.

“Since I came [to the Netherlands] seven years ago, I’ve had no contact with the Ethiopian people; I’ve had more contact with the Dutch people,” she says.

“I always go to the Diamond League with [fellow Dutch 1500m runner] Maureen Koster, always sit with her and eat with her. I feel more Dutch because I have more contact. The more contact you have the more strongly you feel about it.

“It will mean a lot for me [to wear the Dutch shirt at August’s world champs]. I’m living there, it feels like my home.”

The world championships in Beijing will be Hassan’s first. Her fearlessness at taking on Europe’s best in Zurich last August and in Prague in March suggests great things could lie in store. What's clear is that she won’t let the opportunity pass her by.

“I don’t have to be scared,” she declares. “If someone else wins I am happy for them. I don’t have to escape. I always try what I can. What would make me sad is if I can’t and I was scared and I stayed behind.”

And her aim is clear: “Of course I want to medal. It will be my first world championships and it would be amazing if I go medal there. It's something historic for me.”