Australia has continued to assert itself as a middle-distance nation with Olympic finalist, and New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship athlete, Jessica Hull, shattering the national 1500m record to land on the Diamond League podium, while fellow NSWIS athlete, and Commonwealth champion, Oli Hoare, returns to world class form with his first Paris 2024 qualifier at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene.

Continuing her momentum after a podium finish at the Doha Diamond League last fortnight, Hull outclassed a loaded field to become the first Australian woman to dip under the 3:56 barrier over the metric mile when clocking 3:55.97.

Placing second to global medallist Diribe Welteji (ETH), Hull was strong from the gun to the finish line as she took on a field with 12 sub four-minute women – marking herself as a contender for her maiden Olympic medal in Paris.

Biding her time to make her move, Hull surged with 200m to go for showdown with USA’s Elle St. Pierre and Laura Muir (GBR) for second place, with the Australian prevailing in a time almost one second faster than her previous personal best.

“I was feeling really good out there. I think I knew I had a fast time in me but I didn’t want to put a number on it because I didn’t want to be clock watching and if I had a time in mind, I would calculate the splits when I was out there and I can’t be in the habit of that,” Hull said.

“Having come close to the win in Doha, I thought I’d just stick to the race plan that would set me up to win and if I was able to pull that off today, I knew I’d have to run a very fast time to do it. I focused on what I needed to do to race the race and I think that’s something that I will carry forward with me.

Hull’s time is the 26th fastest time over the distance in history, and the fifth fastest time recorded this year.

“It’s great confidence booster for Paris. I was so consistent last year at 3:57 and that got me seventh in Budapest. If I look at the landscape of the sport and look at the times that I would need to medal, I need to be consistent at that mid to low 3:50s, so getting a 3:55 on the board today gives me confidence and I think we will find a little bit more throughout the season.”

Fellow Australian and former Australian record holder Linden Hall trailed in 12th place in 4:01.97, strengthening her Paris campaign with her seventh Olympic qualifying time.

Amongst one of the best Mile fields assembled in history, Hoare and Cameron Myers were victorious in clinching Olympic 1500m qualifiers, as Great Britain’s Josh Kerr raced to gold beating Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigsten to the finish line in the Bowerman Mile.

Hoare raced to ninth place in 3:49.11, marking his return to form after a year checkered with injury and became the fourth Australian man qualified for the 1500m in Paris alongside Myers, Stewart McSweyn and Adam Spencer. At only 17, Myers too bolstered his campaign for Paris, finishing in 11th place in a time of 3:50.15 – for his third Olympic qualifier.

Australian record holder Catriona Bisset clocked her third fastest time over 800m and a season’s best, when placing sixth in one of the deepest fields of the meet in 1:58.44 – once again dipping under the 1:59.30 standard as she looks to grab onto the third and final spot on offer in the event in Paris.

Australian 10,000m record holder Lauren Ryan stepped down to take on the 5000m, finishing in 15th place in a time of 15:03.63 in a race that saw the Ethiopia take the top six places, with Tsigie Gebreselama winning with a world-leading performance in 14:18.76 and Birke Haylom in fifth, claiming the World Under 20 record in 14:23.71.

Sascha Ryner, Athletics Australia

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