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Aussies make most of finals feeling

21 August 2016

ATHLETICS: Ryan Gregson has achieved a top-10 finish in the men’s 1500m final while Australia’s 4x400m women’s relay team finished eighth in the last night of competition at the Olympic Stadium.

The first Australian in 40 years to reach the men’s 1500m Olympic final, Gregson finished ninth in a time of 3:51.39.

It was a result that sparked mixed emotions for Gregson, who ran strongly but lost his position approaching the bell, which he concedes cost him an even better result.

“I just had one moment of weakness with about 750m to go, I was in the perfect spot and the Spanish guy (David Bustos) came in and I should have been strong enough to hold him out,” Gregson said.

“As soon as that happened I got pushed back and positioning was so crucial.

“I was just too far back. I had a decent ride on the rail but I gave those guys three or four metres start at the bell.

“I’m not saying I would have medalled or anything like that but I certainly would have hopefully finished higher up the field.”

In a highly tactical race, the Australian was well placed early but once he was shuffled back the slow speed up front made catching the leaders virtually impossible.

“I think something faster would have maybe suited me a bit more,” Gregson said.

“But that’s just the 1500, you’ve got to have every trick in your arsenal to be able to compete because who knows, it could be won at 3:30, it could be won at 3:50.”

The gold medal went to Matthew Centrowitz of the USA in 3:50.00.

Defending champion, Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi, won silver in 3:50.11 while New Zealand’s Nicholas Willis, a silver medallist in Beijing in 2008, won the bronze in 3:50.24.

In the men’s 5000m final, Brett Robinson finished 15th as Great Britain’s champion Mo Farah claimed the 5000m-10,000m double.

It was a great performance by Robinson to make the final and the Aussie gave it everything he had, running 13:32.

In one of the final events of the program, our women’s 4x400m team of Jessica Thornton, Anneliese Rubie, Caitlin Sargent and Morgan Mitchell ran superb races to finish with a time of 3:27.45.

The USA won gold ahead of Jamaica and Great Britain.

“We worked so hard just to get to the Olympic final so to be able to label ourselves Olympic finalists is pretty cool, but we know we’ve got a lot to work on in the coming years,” Mitchell said.

“It’s quite exciting knowing we are that close and knowing we’re still very young, we’ve got a lot to look forward to.

“I’m really proud of the girls.”

The athletics program concludes tomorrow with the men’s marathon starting at 9:30am (22:30 AEST Sunday, 21 August).

 David Taylor


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