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‘Extraordinary’: Aussie runner snags historic gold

Australia has a Commonwealth Games gold medallist over 1500m and his name is Oliver Hoare.

The brilliant middle-distance runner from Sydney’s south produced the race of his life to clinch gold in the men’s 1500m at Alexander Stadium on Saturday.

To make the run even more special, he clocked 3:30.12 to crack his personal best and seize the Commonwealth Games record.

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Legendary Australian runner Herb Elliott claimed gold in the mile at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games and, 22 years later, the mile was replaced with the 1500m.

Until Hoare’s heroics, the best result an Australian man had achieved over 1500m at the Commonwealth Games was bronze: Youcef Abdi in Manchester in 2002 and Mark Fountain in Melbourne in 2006.

Hoare executed his tactics to perfection.

At the bell he sat in second in lane one behind the two Kenyans, Timothy Cheruiyot and Abel Kipsang, and inside reigning world champion Jake Wightman.

Just as Wightman had done en route to securing gold at last month’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene, the Scot surged into the lead and pinched the first lane with just under 200m remaining.

But Hoare, desperate to atone for crashing out in the semi-finals in the US, moved into lane four to avoid congestion on the home straight and extracted every ounce of energy out of himself.

He dipped at the line and beat Cheriuyot for gold by 0.9 seconds.

The 25-year-old Hoare, overcome by the rawest of emotion, clasped his face with his hands and dropped to his haunches.

Crying tears of joy, he grabbed the Australian flag, let out shouts of triumph and dashed over to greet the crowd.

“It’s an extraordinary moment in Australian sport,” Bruce McAvaney said on Seven’s coverage.

“It’s one of those that will etch in the history books forever.

“And how lucky we are to have been here and for you to have watched it.

“The last 100m is the stuff of legends.”

Hoare was ecstatic as he unpacked his race in a trackside interview with Seven.

“That last lap I wanted to stay relaxed on the inside and knew that my time would come,” Hoare said.

“It’s hard to believe when you have guys there that are absolute class.

“But I was able to get out and I just had the kicker at the end.

“It was spectacular.

“I knew when I made it around I could win; I just had to make sure I could hold my form.

“Timothy is an amazing competitor from Kenya and he knows how to race hard and he was locking up a little bit and I could see that and it just gave me an advantage to stay relaxed and to keep it going and pushing through.

“Then crossing the line I just couldn’t believe what I just did.

“The time was very quick, too.

“It was fantastic.”

Hoare lowered his personal best from 3:32.66 to 3:30.12 in the instant classic.

Cheruyiot is a former world champion and Olympic silver medallist over 1500m, Kipsang a 3:29.56 1500m runner and, of course, Wightman was crowned 1500m world champion last month.

Hoare dedicated the win to his beloved pop, who died after the World Athletics Championships.

His pop, a World War II veteran, had a stopwatch at every race Hoare ran as a kid.

“He is the reason why my family loves the sport, he is the reason why I am here today,” Hoare said.

“Pop, I know you’re watching. I’ll have a glass of red for you, mate.

“That was a good one.”

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