Stewart McSweyn knows he can’t do that again.
Twice now in Tokyo, McSweyn has taken a tactically aggressive plan into his races and got through, not comfortably, but he has done what is needed. He knows he can’t do that again in his bid to claim a medal.
Stewart McSweyn had a front-running plan in his 1500m semi-final.Credit:Getty Images
The Australian 1500-metres champion has made it through to Saturday night’s Olympics final along with Australian Ollie Hoare.
McSweyn has twice attacked the field with a kick to the front from 600m out and set up a lead that has been mown down in the last lap. When you only need a top-five finish in the semi-final and you are just doing what you need to do to advance that is OK, but when you are racing for medals that will not be good enough.
McSweyn pushed again down the home straight when the field came at him and secured his top-five finish, clocking in at three minutes 32.54 seconds, well outside his personal best 3:29.51, but then, running a PB in the semi was not the aim.
“I won’t want to go to the front as early, I’m happy following the guys,” he said.
“It’s a good tactic in the first two rounds but in the final time doesn’t matter – it’s about competing.
“Hoping I can cling on the back of [Kenya’s Timothy] Cheruiyot and be right there on the bell.
“Strange things can happen in an Olympics so if I’m there in the mix, anything could happen.
“There is a lot of good 800m guys in that semi, I didn’t want to leave it. I thought I could string them out a bit.
“I knew I was in the top seven; the main thing was getting through, they don’t hand out medals in the semi.
“I’m confident I can bring it in the final, hopefully I won’t have to do so much at the front, that will make it a little easier. I’m riding the momentum now and I think I can compete with the top guys come two nights’ time.”
Hoare ran fourth in his semi with a time of 3:34.35 to qualify.
“I’ve never made an Australian team in my life, as a junior, a senior and now it’s the Tokyo Olympics [final],” he said after his run.
Hoare said when he was challenged and passed in the last 200m he wanted to prove to himself that he had the strength to come back.
“I closed well, I was in a bit of a bad spot with 200 to go and I made sure I managed it well,” he said.
“I pushed hard. You don’t want to finish fifth in auto qualifying, you want to finish third or fourth, so I made sure I pushed up to fourth and proved to myself I had some strength there and I think I did that. I think the final will be quick.”
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