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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Ryan Gregson, Luke Mathews & Jenny Blundell run 1500m qualifiers for Rio

Ryan Gregson, Luke Mathews & Jenny Blundell run 1500m qualifiers for Rio

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Ryan Gregson, Luke Mathews and Jenny Blundell reach Rio qualifying standards

Fox Sports
19 May 2016

A LATE change of event has paid off big-time for Ryan Gregson, who has booked his spot in the Australian athletics team for the Rio Olympics with a flying 1500m victory in the Netherlands.

Reigning national champion Gregson had intended to contest the 800m in Nijmegen, but instead took advantage of ideal conditions to step up to his favoured event and was rewarded with the win in a time of three minutes 35.78 seconds.

“The conditions were really good so we thought it would be a good chance to run fast. Nic told me the morning of the event that I should switch events and it paid off,” Gregson said in an Athletics Australia statement..

“It’s a nice feeling to be finally qualified alongside so many of my Melbourne Track Club teammates, but now it’s all about improving and getting to that final in Rio.”

Countryman and training partner Luke Mathews was second in 3:35.99 — also under the Olympic qualifying standard. He was previously selected in the 800m for Rio.

And halfway around the world in Beijing, Jenny Blundell became the third Australian woman to better the Olympic 1500m mark by clocking 4:04.62 to claim a top-three finish.

“It still hasn’t sunk in,” said Blundell. “I knew I had it in me to run that fast, I just had to run hard from the start. It didn’t surprise me, but it’s exciting.

“I didn’t hear any times out there, there was no clock. I knew we were going through 800m in 2:11, and the pace carried us through to the bell. The Norwegian runner told me before the race that if we asked for that pace, then we’d get it, so I was confident of where we were at.”

Blundell’s time sees her join Linden Hall (Vic) and Zoe Buckman (Vic) on the list of qualified athletes for the very competitive women’s 1500m, with Melissa Duncan (Vic) already Rio 2016 selected and the national champion Heidi See (NSW) on the hunt for an Olympic standard. Only three athletes can represent Australia at the Olympic Games.

“It’s an Olympic year, you’ve just got to run as fast as you can. 4:04 is quick, but it might not be fast enough,” Blundell said.

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