Sport Welsh athletics ace Jake Heyward hitting 1500m straps at perfect time after making Olympic semi

06:00  04 august  2021
06:00  04 august  2021 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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Jake Heyward showed maturity beyond his years and imposed himself on the Olympic 1500m field with victory in his heat in Tokyo.

The Cardiff star is making his major Championship debut on the biggest stage of them all and ran at the front to win his heat in 3:36.14.

With the likes of European champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and highly-fancied Australian Stewart McSweyn trailing behind him, Hayward grew an inch in height after the performance.

“I don’t think it could have gone much better to be fair,” he said after a race broadcast live on Eurosport and Discovery+.

“I’m safely through, that’s the main thing, getting through the rounds comfortably and I felt really good today and hopefully that bodes well going into the semi-final.

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“You have to have a few scenarios, you have to be versatile, it could be fast, could be slow, so you’ve got to be ready for that. I think I was well prepared.

“You can’t take anything for granted at the Olympics, you’ve got to be prepared for anything and I prepared to run super hard today, so that was my mindset going in.

“Luckily because I didn’t have to run that hard it felt quite comfortable, so it was good.

“I think I always give my best performances in championships and I hope that showed a glimpse of what I can do.”

Hayward is on the undercard of the British trio for the event with Scots Josh Kerr and Jake Wightman both making the final of the World Championships in 2019.

But having battled with Achilles problems that threatened his chance of reaching his potential and capitalising on a fine junior career, the 21-year-old is delivering when it matters most.

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He broke the 31-year-old Welsh 1500m record earlier this year with 3:33.99 in the USA and will need to break 3:34 again to continue his progress through the rounds. The semi-finals will be staged on Wednesday with the final on Friday.

A training block interrupted by injury has been the key to the rapid progress of an athlete coached by Mark Rowand.

“I’ve had consistent training since March, which is probably the most consistency I’ve had in the past two years, and that’s the main thing actually that I’m healthy,” he said. “As long as I’m healthy I’m in with a shot.

“I think Mark is a genius, and I think together we’ve figured out a plan for me and what works for my body, and hopefully I can show that in the next rounds because it’s only going to get tougher.

“I need to wait and see what semi-final I’m in, and sort of gauge off the other people, and then also play to my strengths as well because it’s my race at the end of the day.”

A world record came crashing down in the final race of the morning with Norway's Karsten Warholm lowering his own mark in the 400m hurdles and winning gold with 45.94.

Stream every unmissable moment of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 live on discovery+, the Streaming Home of the Olympics.

Laura Muir’s Olympic silver was a Scottish sporting achievement for the ages .
Rarely has a silver medal been celebrated with such unbridled joy. The outpouring of affection for Laura Muir shows the regard in which she is held. © Britain's Katie Archibald, left, and Laura Kenny celebrate after winning in the Olympic Madison fina... Eilidh Doyle, a contemporary and a medallist at Rio 2016, was in tears. She wasn’t the only one.Muir’s second place in the 1500 metres in Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium will go down as one of the great moments of these Games, and a Scottish sporting achievement for the ages.Her race lasted less than four minutes but it was a decade in the making.

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