NSWIS athlete Oliver Hoare has produced a breath-taking performance in the men’s 1500m to bring home gold for Australia.
The phenomenal effort was one of the gutsiest runs of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to date taking more than two seconds off the Commonwealth Games record. Oli becomes the second Australia to win the 1500m at the Commonwealth Games in history, second to only Herb Elliot.
Oli looked almost out of medal contention as the pack rounded the final bend with Scotland’s Jake Wightman the first athlete to make a move.
Surging around the bend, the Scotsman blocked Oli behind Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot and Abel Yipsang. Refusing to back down and lifting to extraordinary heights in the final 50m, Oli powered into the lead, finishing in a time of 3:30.12 and securing the gold.
Oli dedicated the race to his late Grandfather “Pop” who was a life member at Sutherland Athletics Club and a World War II veteran.
“I’d like to dedicate this race to my Pop, he is the reason my family loves this sport and the reason for this race,” Oli said.
Oli said it was his patience and composure that ultimately won him a gold medal.
“When you have the quality of athletes, Olympic medallists and world champions. I just had to be patient and back myself.”
“After such a disappointing Worlds it was a tough time. I wanted to say relaxed and know my time would come.”
“I was able to get out and had the kicker at the end. It was incredible. I knew I could win, I just had to hold my form. I had great positioning and I feel very comfortable and relaxed.”
Earlier in the session, current world champion Eleanor Patterson fell short of winning gold in the women’s high jump.
The 26-year-old missed her three attempts at 1.95m but claims the silver on countback with a clearance of 1.92m. Jamaica’s Lamara Distin won gold, clearing 1.95m while her fellow countrywoman Kimberly William took bronze.
The Birmingham high jump final fell less than three weeks after being crowned world champion in Oregon where the NSWIS scholarship holder jumped a personal best of 2.02, a joint Australian record. Eleanor was on the hunt for a second Commonwealth Games title in Birmingham having won gold at the 2014 Glasgow Games as an 18-year-old.
“I am just really frustrated and disappointed,” said Eleanor
“I didn’t really show what I can do at all. I was not jumping how I can and how I usually do and so it is just really frustrating.”
Tokyo 2020 silver medallist and fellow NSWIS athlete Nicola Olyslagers also qualified for the final but was forced to withdraw after what was initially thought to be a tight calf after the qualifying round turned out to be a torn muscle.
Also in the morning session on Day Nine, Tokyo Olympian and NSWIS athlete Ed Trippas made his Commonwealth Games debut contesting the 3000m steeplechase final where he placed 7th with a time of 8:37.42. Kibiwot of Kenya claimed gold, Sable of India took silver and Serem, also from Kenya, placed third.
The men’s 4x100m relay team experienced agonising disappointment in their heat, dropping the baton in the final change ruling the Aussies out of final contention.
NSWIS athletes Josh Azzopardi and Rohan Browning were part of the quad along with Jacob Despard and Jack Hale, who all accepted that these things happen in sport.
The evening session at Alexander stadium saw Sarah Carli place sixth in a thrilling women’s 400m hurdles final with a time of 55.82. The Commonwealth Games debutant got off to a great start and was right in the pack for the first 200m before the three Kenyans, Janieve Russell, Shian Salmon and Rushell Clayton took the lead. A brilliant late sprint from South African Zeney van der Walk saw her steal the bronze from Clayton while Russell and Salmon took gold and silver respectively.
Out on the field, 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Alexandra Hulley placed sixth in the women’s hammer throw, throwing 66.26m on her fifth attempt.