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LaCaze posts Rio qualifier in 5000m

  • LaCaze posts Rio qualifier in 5000m

    Genevieve LaCaze has bettered the Olympic qualifying standard for the 5000m in Finland.

Track star Genevieve LaCaze will represent Australia in two events at the Rio Olympics after posting a 5000m qualifier to add to her 3000m steeplechase berth.

Having won the 5000m event at April's Australian championships in Sydney, LaCaze needed only to better the Rio Games qualifying mark of 15 minutes 24 seconds to seal her nomination.

She did so on Sunday (Monday AEST) in Finland, recording a personal best time of 15:21.92 to win her race in tough conditions.

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"I think I shocked myself. 9th PB this year, 1st in 15.21.92 & an Olympic qualifier to double in Rio!" LaCaze posted on Twitter from the Savo Games in Lapinlahti.

LaCaze had already been selected for the 3000m steeplechase at August's Olympics, but was pushing to add the 5000m to her repertoire.

The 26-year-old Victorian has been in scorching form in 2016.

This latest result was her seventh consecutive personal best since the start of May across the 5000m, 3000m steeplechase and 800m disciplines, and her ninth overall this year.

Last week, she slashed more than seven seconds off her quickest steeplechase time at the Diamond League meet in Stockholm, finishing third in 9:23.19.

LaCaze, the girlfriend of fellow Rio-bound middle-distance runner Ryan Gregson, fills the second of Australia's three women's 5000m spots, joining already-selected Eloise Wellings.

Likely contenders for the third spot are Emily Brichacek and fellow Rio-bound steeplechaser Madeline Hills, who bettered the qualifying mark in May 2015, though neither have been nominated for selection by Athletics Australia.

Brichacek is returning from a period out with stress fractures that forced her to withdraw from the world championships in Beijing last August.

The 25-year-old remained sidelined for the national championships, but she ran a solid time trial in Canberra at the weekend, recording 9:19.77 over 3000m.

Among those chasing a Rio athletics qualifier is London Games 400m finalist Steve Solomon and 800m runners Alex Rowe, Brittany McGowan and Selma Kajan.

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