Medal threat: Australia’s Hull smashes national record on eve of Olympics

Jess Hull is dramatically closing the gap on the world’s best and is now poised as a medal threat at this year’s Olympics after smashing the Australian 1500 metres record in a Diamond League meet on Sunday morning.

In a field that included Britain’s Olympic silver medallist Laura Muir and American 3000m indoor world champion Elle St Pierre, Hull outshone the bigger names to finish second and cut her personal best by 1.32 seconds to set a new Oceania record of 3min55.97s for the 1500m.

She finished just behind Ethiopia’s world silver medallist Diribe Welteji, who also set a new personal best with her 3:53.75 at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon

Hull knows that to be among the world’s best she now needs to regularly be running 3:55 times, but draws comfort from last year when she also set a new personal best early in the year and then consistently ran around that mark for the rest of the season. This year she feels she has also hit an early PB and hopes to maintain and build on that heading to Paris.

“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.

“I kind of think to take that next jump, I need to be a 3:55 woman or faster over and over and over again this year. So, starting here on the 25th of May is really exciting.

medal threat: australia’s hull smashes national record on eve of olympics

Jess Hull smashed the national record.

“Last year I ran 3:57, which is a big PB at this time of year and I stayed there all year.”

She was pleased with how the race played out among a field that will have many of her likely competitors at the Stade de France in August.

“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,” she said.

“I knew I’d have to run a very fast time to do it. I focused on what I needed to do to race and I think that’s something that I will carry forward with me.”

Hull’s Australian teammate and former Oceanian record holder Linden Hall finished 12th in 4:01.97 but is building fitness and racing form.

Outstanding schoolboy prodigy Cam Myers again showed he is a rising star of the sport, not just in Australia but in the world, with his performance in the 1500m. Yes, at first blush that sounds rash for an 11th place finish, but in an elite field, the 17-year-old ran a time of 3:50.15.

To put that time in perspective, World Athletics does not recognise under-18s records. But if it did, Myers would have broken it.

World Athletics records are only for under-20s and the under-20s mile record was set last year by Reynold Kipkorir Cheriuyot in a time of 3.48.06. Myers is on track to be in the next generation of world stars of the sport.

Such was the quality of the field, Australia’s Commonwealth Games medallist Ollie Hoare’s time of 3:49.11 only had him finishing ninth.

Entertainingly, the race was won not by brash Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the man who has made a habit of winning all races except the championship ones that count, but by his fierce rival Josh Kerr, who put the lippy Scandinavian in his box when he said of Ingebrigtsen he had “flaws on the track and in the manners realm”.

It was their first meeting since the 2023 world championships in Budapest where Kerr won only for Ingebrigsten to say he had been sick and would have beaten “the other guy” on any other day.

On the next “other day” they raced, which was the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting at the weekend, Kerr repeated his effort and shut Ingebrigtsen down, winning in a British record time of 3:45.34, 0.26 seconds ahead of Ingebrigtsen in second.

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