KURT Fearnley may not have been able to snare a podium finish at London’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday night at the World Para Athletics Championships, but he still had reason to be pleased.
As Fearnley lined up for the men’s T54 1,500 metres decider, it marked the first time in more than a decade that the Carcoar native had qualified for a world championships final in that event.
At 36 years of age, Fearnley is one of the more experienced members of the Australia team in London and as usual, is leading by example.
While renowned for racing over the longer 42.2 kilometre distance, Fearnley altered his training in the build up to London so he could push at higher speeds in shorter track events.
His first assignment was the 1,500m, an event in which he won bronze at the 2006 world championships in Assen.
Fearnley lined up in the second of three qualifying heats, with the top three guaranteed a spot in the final later that night.
He did what was required, placing third behind Thailand’s Rawat Tana and Britain’s Richard Chiassaro, his push of three minutes, 11.43 seconds making him the third fastest qualifier.
“Great to qualify into my first 1,500 world champs final since 2006,” he tweeted.
In the final the pace was on and it was a long-time rival of Fearnley’s, Swiss ace Marcel Hug, who had the strongest arms. He picked up his eighth world championship title in a time of 3:04.33.
Fearnley (3:05.26), pushing along the inside of the track, crossed the line in sixth.