• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Helsinki snub fires O'Hare quest to take on the world

MARGARET THATCHER deposed Ted Heath as Conservative leader; Bill Gates coined the name "Microsoft"; Lord Lucan was convicted in absentia; and Dougal Haston and Doug Scott became the first Brits to conquer Everest.

Chris O'Hare eased through his heat last night. Picture: Getty Images
Chris O'Hare eased through his heat last night. Picture: Getty Images

That's what was happening in 1975, the last time a Scot – Bellahouston Harrier Frank Clement headed Britain's 1500 metres and mile rankings

Brought up in West Linton and educated at Peebles High School, O'Hare now lies third on the Scottish 1500m all-time rankings, behind Graham Williamson and John Robson and ahead of Clement and former world indoor silver medallist David Strang. This afternoon in Birmingham he hopes victory in the World Championship trials will book his place for Moscow.

He eased through his heat last night, finishing second in 3:44.92 with the first three qualifying. No Briton has the A standard (3.35.00) and as the sole B qualifier, O'Hare believes he merits a place if he wins. Selectors pick the team on Monday and owe him a break.

Last year, O'Hare and fellow Scot David Bishop were overlooked for the European Championships. Two Englishmen, both slower than the Scots, got the nod, although three could have been sent to Helsinki.

"There are different levels of disappointment," O'Hare said: "Maybe when you haven't done enough, or when you feel you've done enough and then been injured. The worst is when you think you've done enough and somebody tells you that you haven't.

"It was really difficult to take. I think of it more often than I should. Even on easy runs this year my blood is boiling, almost, at such disappointment. This year is important. I think I'm capable of winning the trial and that would put me in line for selection. I have worked harder than ever before."

It would have been simpler had he run just 0.37 of a second faster last weekend, but O'Hare is "not frustrated". He added: "I think I'm capable of it but being able to do it and capable of it are different things. I am faster than 3.35 – perhaps by a couple of seconds – but being the only one with the B standard should be good enough."

O'Hare, 22, graduated in May with a sports science degree. He took the Scottish indoor 1500m record from Williamson this year, and the indoor mile mark from Strang in the same race in New York. Robson, whose Scottish 1500m record is 3.33.83, sent congratulations on Facebook but O'Hare has never met any of those he now stands alongside.

"It's superb to be in such great company," he said. "I have a few years left to top that list and set a target for athletes of the future to chase. That's a very important part of my mission statement – to inspire young people whether it be my younger brother, Dominic, or somebody I've never seen.

"Glasgow has been my long-term goal for four years. Hopefully, I'll make the Worlds this year, and get a medal in Glasgow. I don't just want to be a finalist. I want to be a medallist, and I'm doing all in my power to get to that level. I am not thinking about Rio yet, if I did I'd probably miss out on the Worlds and screw up the Commonwealths, but I do want to make the Olympic team."

O'Hare's coach in Tulsa knows the significance of 2014. "They've been fantastically supportive," he said. "They know what it means to me and my country. My schedule is set up solely for the Commonwealth Games. The NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association Championship] is just part of the build-up. It will be cross-country when I go back in August – I'm doing a marketing degree – but no indoor season."

O'Hare's sister, Olivia, a former double winner of the Scottish Schools 800 and 1500m titles, is 18 today. She has already spent a year on Tulsa campus and Chris hopes she will be in 2014 contention.

O'Hare himself showed very early promise. His mother, Gillian, persuaded a teacher to give early access to cross-country. "I was in primary four or five, but was up there with the older boys," he said.

His father, Terry, recalls: "Even before that we were aware he never did anything slowly. Football, roller skates – he did it all at top speed."

O'Hare's first track race, however, at Blackford, was inauspicious. "I forgot my spikes and we had to drive back. Then I ran into one of the pegs, and twisted my ankle. I ended up in Stirling Royal Infirmary.

"But dodging cow pats, thistles, and sheep running across the field at Highland and Borders games taught me a lot – how to race to win, how to run from the back, pace judgment – all fundamental experience."

Contextual targeting label: 
Sport

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

169733