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Sam Tanner Secures Diamond League Win And World Championship Entry Standard Time

Sam Tanner. Photo credit: Alisha Lovrich.

New Zealand middle-distance star Sam Tanner climaxed a rewarding US tour by claiming a stunning 1500m victory in a PB of 3:34.37 to bank a World Championship automatic entry standard time at the Eugene Diamond League today.

The 21-year-old from Papamoa has been in excellent recent form, and on his previous outing in Walnut at the USATAF Distance Classic on 19 May just missed the entry standard – of 3:35.00 - when placing second in 3:35.61.

Today, however, at the Prefontaine Classic he dipped comfortably under that time with an impressive display. Happy to sit third and later second behind Great Britain’s Neil Gourley – after the pacemaker dropped out around 1000m – proved a smart tactical move.

Entering the home straight, the New Zealand 1500m champion and Tokyo Olympian launched his winning strike to take the lead from Gourley to sprint home for a memorable win at the fabled Hayward Field – venue of the 2022 World Championships, which takes place 15-24 July.

“It’s definitely a relief,” said Sam, who trimmed 0.35 from his 1500m lifetime best set indoors in February last year. “I spent the last four weeks chasing it (the World Championship entry standard), so to have done it in the fourth of four races (in the US), I left it until the last minute. I’m over the moon to get it.”

“Neil Gourley beat me at my past two races. I did a lot of the work at both of those races, and he (Gourley) did some of the work this time and I beat him. It was good for us to both chop and change. I’m stoked that he got the standard as well (Gourley ran 3:34.85) as I did. It was a cool race and a good battle.”

Sam’s next planned competition is the 1500m at the Oceania Championships in Mackay (June 7-11).

He has been conditionally selected for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. The final wave of New Zealand athletes selected for the World Championships will be made on 1 July.

Tom Walsh had to settle for third in a top-quality men’s shot put champion with an outdoor season’s best of 21.96m.

In a repeat of the finishing order at the Tokyo Olympic Games, American Ryan Crouser finished top of the pile to win courtesy of a mighty world lead effort of 23.02m ahead his compatriot Joe Kovacs (22.49m).

Tom sat second behind Crouser (22.02m) after an opening effort of 21.75m in round one.

However, round two proved decisive. The 30-year-old Cantabrian added a further 21cm on his first round throw, but Crouser took full control of the competition to launch his winning mark and Kovacs responded by moving into second with an impressive 22.43m.

In rounds three and four the New Zealand shot put ace produced a pair of 21.33m efforts. A foul followed in round five and in a wet circle he heaved the shot out to 21.18m in the final round.

Kiwi Geordie Beamish set an outdoor 5000m personal best of 13:29.88 to place ninth in a high-class 5000m won by Ethiopia’s Berihu Aragawi in a world lead and meet record time of 12:50.05.

It was a solid outing by the Hawke’s Bay-raised and US-based New Zealander, who will return to Hayward Field in July having won selection for the New Zealand World Championship team.

Geordie, who is also conditionally selected for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, has an indoor 5000m personal best of 13:12.53 set in Boston last December.

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