EDINBURGH’S Chris O’Hare admitted it took all of his courage and determination to make it through to the 1500m semi-finals as he got his maiden World Championship campaign up and running.
And, while his time of 3:38.86 minutes was three seconds slower than his personal best set in Belgium last month, it was still good enough for a spot in tomorrow’s semi-finals.
O’Hare arrives in Russia as the British champion and hit the front early on in his heat in the Luzhniki Stadium, the site of Lord Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett’s famous duel at the 1980 Olympics.
But the Edinburgh middle-distance runner faded in the home straight from second to eighth and admitted afterwards that he had given everything in a bid to make his first world semi-final.
“I knew when coming here that I was going to have to push it hard,” he said. “I was trying to win like it was a gold medal.
“I did not have as much as I would have hoped in the last 100m, but these guys are the best in the world and I will take something home from that and try and save a bit more for the last 100m.
“I had not watched the other heats all that attentively – I just went into my race knowing that I was going to have to run with a lot of heart and a lot of guts, and that’s what I did.
“This stadium is steeped in history and it’s an honour to be part of that.”
O’Hare’s progression was the only slice of good news for Britain on a brief day five as European under-23 champion Sophie Hitchon failed to make the hammer final – finishing qualifying in 19th.
And Olympic champion Greg Rutherford also failed to escape qualifying in the long jump – his best of 7.87m placing him 14th and leading him to jump to the defence of his selection.
A hamstring injury and a lack of an A qualifying standard jump meant Rutherford faced competition from compatriot Chris Tomlinson, also without a leap good enough, as to who would be given the nod. Rutherford was the lucky one of the two as he was deemed to have proved his fitness and he believes the selectors still made the right choice despite his failure in qualifying. For both Chris and I there was a standard set and we should have jumped it,” he said. “We are both good enough to jump 8.25m and we didn’t do that this year.
“I felt for Chris and it would have been great to have us both at the worlds, but it has nothing to do with me if Chris makes it or doesn’t. I just have to do what I have to do to make the championships. I’m still British No.1. I have jumped further than him multiple times this year and I have beaten him nearly every time, apart from when I got hurt.
“If you are looking at somebody who has the better distance that year, won more head-to-heads and has a major title behind, then it is a no brainer who should get selected.”
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