Stewart McSweyn believes a medal is in sight as he strides into new territory for Tasmanian athletics at the world championships.
The 24-year-old King Islander looked like he had plenty left in the tank in Qatar as he qualified for the 5000-metres final by finishing his heat fourth in a time of 13:20.58 - 15 seconds outside his personal best.
Speaking from Doha, McSweyn told The Examiner he was delighted with the performance and proud to extend a distinguished Australian record in the event.
"I felt good," he said. "I felt like I had a bit more to give on the final lap so hopefully can lift for Monday's final.
"Obviously, it was pretty humbling to make the final and follow in the footsteps of runners like Craig Mottram and Brett Robinson."
In a dominant opening-day performance, the sole Tasmanian in the national team produced what Athletics Australia described as "a ripper of a performance" to record the fastest time by an Australian.
With a personal best time of 13:05.23, set in Brussels a year ago, McSweyn is confident of stepping up a gear in the final which will be at 9.20pm on Monday, which is 4.20am on Tuesday (Tastime).
@IAAFDoha2019@Stewy_mac3 continues Australia's 🇦🇺 impressive record in the men’s 5000m at the World Champs by qualifying for the final— David Tarbotton (@David_Tarbotton) September 27, 2019
2005 – Craig Mottram
2007 – Craig Mottram
2009 – Collis Birmingham
2013 – Brett Robinson
2017 – Pat Tiernan
2019 – Stewart McSweyn pic.twitter.com/UZqzP7IFBE
"I'm going in with the aim to put myself in a position to compete for a medal," he said.
"Other than that I'm just focusing on being as competitive as I can be in the final rather then any other time or place."
After the 5000m final, Launceston-born McSweyn will enjoy a three-day break before the 1500m heats from 5am on Friday (Tastime) with the semi-finals the following day at 3.05am and the final on Monday, October 7 at 2.40am.
"I think getting through the 5k heat was the first step of my campaign, and to get through that well, will give me confidence heading into the 5k final then the 1500m heats later on in the week."
I'm going in with the aim to put myself in a position to compete for a medalStewart McSweyn
McSweyn has shifted his focus having contested the 5000 and 10,000m double at last year's Commonwealth Games.
His previous world championship campaign in London two years ago saw him eliminated in the 3000m steeplechase heats.
Athletics Tasmania oracle Brian Roe said he believed McSweyn was the first Tasmanian to progress from heats to an individual world championship final.
Launceston-born duo Milly Clark and Josh Harris contested marathons in 2017, but the top 12 is regarded as making a final when there are no preliminaries.
However, there are 15 in a 5000m final suggesting Tristan Thomas' overall 14th place in the 400m hurdles in Berlin in 2009 is an equivalent achievement. Hobart's London Olympian was also in two 4x400m relay finals, anchoring Australia to a bronze medal in 2009.
McSweyn will be the only Australian in the final after compatriots Morgan McDonald (13:26.80) and Pat Tiernan (13:28.42) were eliminated in the first heat.
In a final featuring athletes from five continents, six runners have sub-13-minute PBs.
The fastest of these is top-ranked Selemon Barega, one of three Ethiopians, whose 12:43.02 was set in the same Belgian race as McSweyn's PB in August 2018.
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