Craig Mottram weighs in on Peter Bol saga

Coming out of the US college system before turning pro in the US Hoare is in the American OAC squad based in Boulder, Colorado, training with American superstar Yared Nuguse and Kenyan distance legend Hellen Obiri.

″With the group that they’ve got now set up in the US they’ve got probably the best three or four male middle distance runners in the world, arguably,” Mottram said.

“We want to become that down here. We’re under no illusions it’s not going to happen this year in terms of being that desirable group. But we’ve got to build it and use the success of the team we’ve currently had in the US to help us get it up and going.

“And we will. We need it desperately down here.”

Ollie Hoare won Commonwealth Games gold in the 1500m.Credit:Getty

OAC is a different concept in athletics whereby runners sign to the team backed by ON, a running shoe and apparel band that emerged out of Switzerland a decade ago.

Athletes are paid a salary, have all costs covered, train as a team, have access to OAC bases in Europe, USA and now Australia with tracks, gyms, coaches and medical staff and compete wearing the OAC uniform.

OAC is more akin to signing to play for a football club than the typical arrangement where an athlete signs a sponsorship deal with a company for runners and gear.

A gym was built in Richmond for the club’s Australian base. Mottram personally chose the first five athletes to be signed to OAC Oceania, selecting four female rising stars and one veteran, with plans to expand to a dozen athletes in the next year.

Mottram chose five young developing athletes with an eye to the Commonwealth Games in Victoria in 2026 and the Brisbane Olympics in 2032: Olympic steeplechaser Ben Buckingham is the oldest of the five; rising teenage star Claudia Hollingsworth who is just doing year 12 but has already represented Australia at the world championships; Tess Kirsopp-Cole who also raced at the worlds; Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 800m runner Keely Small and 1500m runner Maudie Skyring.

“The goal from my point of view, and it’s globally supported as well, is to build this thing with developing athletes, to go on and work with them,” Mottram said.

“The only way to get real credibility in doing this is to actually build them and work within your model to get success based on what you’re doing with them, rather than just buying them in.

“We’re not poaching athletes, we’re building athletes.”

Hoare is in Australia for the World Cross Country champs at the weekend, where Australia won bronze in the mixed relay, and to run at the Maurie Plant Meet on Thursday night at Albert Park.

He will go head-to-head with Rio Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz Jnr from the United States and Australian champion Stewart McSweyn who said he is back in shape after a frustrating 2022.


“I think I’m set up pretty well to have a good year,” McSweyn said.

“Obviously, I had a few things go wrong early last year. So I’m pretty confident I’ll be starting the season in a lot better shape than what it was a year ago.

“I’m hoping I can take a big step forward and be back right where I was in 2020. Hopefully even better.”

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