Games spot in Hansen sights

SELECTION in Australia's Commonwealth Games athletics team is incentive enough for James Hansen to run the fastest 1500 metres of his career in Melbourne on Saturday.

Hansen needs to find just 1.1 seconds to record a qualifying time for the Commonwealth Games to be held in July.

The 20-year-old North Launceston athlete came close when he ran a personal best of 3.41.85 during the Sydney Track Classic last weekend and gets another chance at the Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne's Albert Park.

``I was a little bit surprised with my time last week but I had been training well and it was good to get a PB,'' he said.

Hansen, who finished sixth in a top-class international race won by Kenyan James Magut in 3:38.58, is confident that a hip flexor strain suffered during the run will respond to treatment and not impede his efforts to reach the qualifying time in Melbourne.

Australia is yet to announce its team for the Commonwealth Games and Hansen is eyeing off one of the spots for the 1500m.

He said that in the past Australia has selected three 1500m runners for the Commonwealth Games and so far only Victorian Jeffrey Riseley, who came second in Sydney, has recorded a qualifying time.

Saturday's IAAF world challenge meeting will be a vital hitout for athletes preparing for next month's Australian championships, but Hansen is expecting more of a tactical race rather than the chance to record a quick time.

Now based in Sydney, where he is in the first year of a business and law degree, Hansen hasn't discounted competing in Europe in the weeks ahead if he fails to reach a qualifying time on Saturday.

He has already had some overseas experience, winning the Hong Kong International Diamond Mile last year and in December gave local crowds a glimpse of his improvement when he beat home a pack of Kenyan runners in the Devonport Mile during the Christmas carnivals.

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