Buoyant Hoare thinks he can medal in Tokyo

·3-min read

Ollie Hoare says he believes he's now ticked every box for Olympic selection after a storming 1500m run on his Diamond League debut and reckons he could go on to win a metric mile medal for Australia in Tokyo.

Despite wretched conditions at the northern English track at Gateshead on Sunday, the US-based Hoare beat his three high-quality Aussie colleagues and lost only to the dazzling young European champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

In what was effectively a race-off for the third metric mile spot in the Australia team, the 24-year-old Hoare won hands down, clocking 3 minutes 36.58 seconds - a superb time in the teeth of the wind and rain - while hammering his compatriots.

"To be honest, I feel when you look at the election criteria, I've now ticked every box that was needed from me," Hoare told AAP.

"I definitely think I can medal in Tokyo. Running against some of the best Americans is one thing but coming away with second place, and a close second, in my first Diamond League race is an indication that I can do it, that I can medal at the Games if I'm selected."

Hoare had been exempted from having to travel from the US to the recent national championships over the complications provided by the pandemic.

"So that head-to-head competition was a big box left unchecked until today, and it really helps me in my case for a selection spot in the 1500," added Hoare.

Up ahead, 20-year-old Ingebrigtsen demonstrated why he'll take all the beating in Tokyo, clocking a season's best of 3:36.27 in what he laughed were typical Norwegian conditions.

But Hoare, fastest Australian in the world over the distance this year after setting a national indoor record of 3:32.35 seconds in February, didn't lose much ground on the home straight as he followed him home strongly.

Crucially, though, he did leave his fellow Aussie challengers trailing.

Stewart McSweyn, national record holder after his 3:30.51 win in Doha last September, had already booked his 1500 spot for the Games but couldn't live with Sydneysider Hoare as he finished third in 3:37.32.

Matt Ramsden, also eyeing the final 1500 berth for Tokyo alongside already-selected McSweyn and national champion Jye Edwards, battled home well in fifth with former national champ Ryan Gregson way back in ninth in 3:45.36.

Hoare's run was made even more impressive as he only arrived from his US base in Boulder, Colorado two days before the race. "I didn't really sleep much the night before," he admitted.

Another impressive Australian run in Gateshead came from Morgan McDonald, fourth in the 5,000 metres in 13:22.78, which would have been much closer to the Tokyo qualifying time he needs (13:13.50) in kinder conditions.

David McNeill, who has the qualifying standard, finished more than half a minute behind McDonald, who'll be in pole position for selection if he can nail the time in races in either Italy or France in mid-June.

The highlight for the hardy home crowd was Britain's sprint star Dina Asher-Smith destroying a strong 100 metres field, headed by new US golden girl Sha'Carri Richardson and double Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Asher-Smith powered into a fierce headwind of 3.1m/s to win in 11.35 seconds while Richardson, who ran a startling 10.72 last month, clocked 11.44 for second, with Marie-Josee Ta Lou (11.48) third ahead of Fraser-Pryce.