John Salvado / AAP News
In the race of his life, Aussie runner Ollie Hoare has added his name to Australian sporting record books, becoming just the second Australian male to win the famed 1500m at the Commonwealth Games.
Ollie Hoare has joined the legendary Herb Elliott as the only Australians to win the Commonwealth 1500m or mile title with one of the greatest runs in the nation’s track history.
Hoare was fourth at the top of the final straight but powered home to win in three minutes 30.12 seconds, lunging across the line to edge out flagging 2019 world champ Timothy Cheruiyot from Kenya by nine hundredths of a second.
Reigning world champ Jake Wightman from Scotland was third as the first seven runners across the line broke the Games record.
“Not many Australians have been able to achieve medals (in the 1500m), let alone win it, so it’s an absolute privilege,” said the 25-year-old Hoare, who stripped more than two and a half seconds off his PB.
“We went out quick straight away, (Kenyan) Abel Kipsang took it out and strung it out and it was a very fast race – but I’ve been training for a fast race.
“It was a matter of pulling the kick at the right time.
“I went through on the inside with a lap to go and I saw Jake next to me and started to panic because he’s the world champion.
“You can hear the Scottish roar in the stadium so I tried to hold my composure.
“With 100m to go I made sure I covered my spot on the bend to not let anyone else past me.
“Then when I got out to lane three it was all about holding form and just running like bloody hell and I was able to get it.”
It was a remarkable turnaround for Hoare, who only two weeks ago failed to earn a place in the final at the world championships.
The incomparable Elliott won the mile at the 1958 Games in Cardiff before the switch to metric distances.
Hoare’s victory provided Australia with a triumphant end to a mixed session at Alexander Stadium.
A “frustrated and disappointed” Eleanor Patterson was in no mood to offer any excuses after having to settle for a shock high jump silver.
A fortnight after winning a thrilling world title in Eugene, Patterson was the red-hot favourite to claim a second Commonwealth title in Birmingham.
The odds of a Patterson triumph shortened even further when fellow Australian and Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Nicola Olyslagers withdrew on the eve of the final after tearing a calf muscle in the qualifying round.
But no one reckoned on Lamara Distin.
The Jamaican blew the competition wide open with a first-round clearance at 1.95m.
Patterson was unable to respond, missing three times at 1.95m – seven centimetres less than her Australian record-equalling effort in Eugene.
The 26-year-old claimed silver on countback from another Jamaican, Kimberley Williamson, at 1.92m.
“I didn’t really show what I can do at all,” said Patterson.
“I was not jumping how I can and how I usually do and so it is just really frustating.”
Patterson acknowledged there may have been a comedown from the remarkable high of world championships gold.
“Maybe I need to adjust to that expectation and title that is attached to my name,” she said.
“I honestly think there are no excuses at the end of the day.”
Australia also suffered a major blow in the opening round of the men’s 4x100m relay when Rohan Browning fell flat on his face at the final changeover.
Australia was well placed to claim a spot in the final until 100m finalist Browning tumbled to the track before third-leg runner Jack Hale could get him the baton.
“I just tripped over; it’s never happened before,” said Browning.
“I know these boys have put in so much work for this relay and I take sole responsibility for that.
It was one of those freak things and I’m just gutted by it.”
Naa Anang anchored the women’s 4x100m relay team to third spot in their heat in 43.47 and a spot in Sunday’s final.
Australia’s premier race walker Jemima Montag added the 10,000m track title to the 20km gold she won four years ago on the roads of the Gold Coast.
Montag broke clear a t the halfway stage of Saturday’s final to win in 42 minutes 34.30 seconds.