Oklahoma posse can help Chris O'Hare lay down the law
Chris O'Hare today claimed his new running mates in the USA have left him primed to go for glory at the IAAF World Indoor Championships this weekend '“ and at the Commonwealth Games.
The Capital star, 27, has declared himself fit for tomorrow’s 1500 metres semi-finals in Birmingham following the foot injury that kept him out of last month’s trials and last Sunday’s Grand Prix in Glasgow.
There’s high hopes the double European medallist can replicate his early-season form across the Atlantic when he scored twin victories in Boston and New York while slashing his own Scottish record.
And, although he’s now moved his young family to Oklahoma while he hits the road, the training posse coached by Terrence Mahon – which also includes Edinburgh AC club-mate Lynsey Sharp and her boyfriend Andy Butchart – has given him an extra gear, O’Hare believes.
“It’s a great group, and so you’ve got me, Butchy and Lynsey,” he said. “Plus Mac Fleet, who ran at the University of Oregon, Eric Avila, and then a guy who actually ran at Oklahoma University, which is down the road from Tulsa, called Dylan Blankenbaker.
“So we’ve had a really good group up at our recent camp in Flagstaff. We’ve been putting awesome work in. And it’s funny to think that me, Butchy and Lynsey are all from this small country and that we’ve all kind of gravitated to the same coach.
“But I think that kind of is a testament to Terrence’s coaching ability because all three of us are entirely different athletes in the way that we race, train and live. So it’s a testament to Terrence’s versatility as a coach, I think.”
O’Hare’s chances of a maiden global medal rose when it was confirmed Kenya have sent only one athlete in his event to Birmingham in the shape of Vincent Kibet but with 2014 champion Ayanleh Souleiman topping the pre-event rankings.
However, the Scots ace insists his pre-championships disruption won’t affect his hopes, no matter the opposition.
“We want medals, the whole team wants medals. It doesn’t matter what a field looks like, if you are good enough to win a medal, you’re good enough to win a medal whatever the field looks like, so yeah, I mean that’s the goal, we want to bring home the hardware.”
His chief challenger, as it was in Boston, could end up being Jake Wightman with the Capital prospect in the form of his life.
Now 23, it’s time to make a big breakthrough, he believes, after learning a harsh lesson from crashing out of last summer’s outdoor world championships in London in the semis.
“I kind of felt at the worlds in the summer like there wasn’t really an excuse for me not to go out then, just because I’d been racing all right in the build-up to that,” Wightman said.
“I feel like because it’s now the second global championships I’ve made, and the route that I’ve taken, there shouldn’t be any excuses made for me not getting experience any more.
“Because I had my one chance to get it wrong. I’m hoping that the stuff I did then I won’t do again this time around, or hopefully ever again.
“I’m definitely a little more confident in my racing ability this time and I’m hoping for a better experience.”
Elsewhere, Laura Muir and Eilish McColgan are set to jump straight back into action in tonight’s 1500m semis while Pitreavie’s Eilidh Doyle joins Zoey Clark in this afternoon’s 400m heats.