McSweyn wins Zatopek

Sydney Morning Herald Report

Stewart McSweyn was hoping for a slow race to make a fast impression. He got it. 

The 22-year-old runner overhauled Rio Olympian Patrick Tiernan in the home straight to win the national 10,000-metre title at the Zatopek:10 at Albert Park. The result booked him a place on the Australian team for the Commonwealth Games, and in doing so he became the first King Islander to qualify for the Games. 

McSweyn knew he had pace but not the endurance of Tiernan so he wanted a slow race with a fast finish. 

McSweyn and Tiernan stayed in lockstep until the final lap when they broke from the pack. At the final bell the King Islander thought only Tiernan ahead of him, that he had beaten the Olympian in a mile race this year ... and of a story from The Age on Thursday that warned places on the Australian Commonwealth Games team for the Gold Coast would be rarer than in Glasgow four years ago.

"I was confident. I have got good mile speed. So I knew if it went to a lap I had a good chance but obviously Pat Tiernan is so strong he wasn't going to make it easy. So I had to hang on to that final lap," McSweyn said after winning in 28 minutes 37 seconds. 

"I knew it was going to be tough but we raced in a mile just before world champs this year and I just knocked him off there, so I knew if it came down to kick that was my best chance because he is aerobically so good. So if it was fast he would be hard to beat so I was hoping it would be slow and tactical.

"I read in [The Age] this morning there was 73 [on the Australian athletics team] and there were 20 relay places and when I heard that bell I thought 'you don't want to have to wait and see what happens with selection'."  

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