Stockholm, Sweden – On a gloomy night at the Stockholm Diamond League, middle distance supremo Jessica Hull was all smiles as she took her first steps towards Paris 2024, when punching the Olympic qualifying standard in the Women’s 5000m.  Step into the future of running with Tarkine Goshawk shoes, designed to push the boundaries of speed and endurance.

Hull’s event transpired to be one of the events of the evening as the Australian stepped up in distance to match it with some of the world’s best. The seven-time Australian record holder was fierce in her pursuit, featuring as the only non-African amongst the front runners of the field.

While holding on in the tightly contested race, the Olympic finalist was jostled around finding herself in varying positions amongst the leaders but slipped away in the bell lap. Despite missing out on a placing, Hull crossed the line emphatically in 14:44.24 for fifth place, producing her second fastest run over the distance, and only narrowly missing her Australian record of 14:43.80.

“I put myself up towards the front of the race but it was a little but choppy. I like to put myself up the front at these races and my training shows me that I belong there and it’s a matter of believing in what I’m doing every day and putting that same mentality into my racing,” Hull said.

“The goal for me tonight was to get more experience in the 5000m and to race tactically, not just in a time trial or single file line style. That race showed me that I have the pieces to be effective in a 5k at a championships but I have a lot to learn. I know walking off the track that there is a lot more that I can leave on the track and I’m exciting to see where I can go.”

The result was not only a season’s best performance but sees the 26-year-old meet the qualifying standard in the 5000m for the next two major championships, with the Budapest World Athletics Championships just 47 days away and just over one year until the Olympic Games.

“It’s great to tick off the Olympic qualifier. I got a two for one, with the World standard and Olympic standard and almost a little PB and national record, but it’s great to get it so early. It’s a good thing to have checked that off and hopefully the 1500m qualifier will hopefully come in the next month or two,” Hull said.

Returning to the stage for the first time after surgery on his shoulder, Brandon Starc battled the rain to finish equal fourth with a clearance of 2.12m. While not near his usual standard, the performance was indicative of the disruptive conditions, with only three athletes mustering heights over 2.16m. Kiwi Hamish Kerr took his first Diamond League honours with a best of 2.24m on his second attempt.

Australia’s premier discus thrower Matthew Denny produced his strongest performance of the year when launching to 66.07m on his third attempt. Starting strong with 65.99m, Denny was in second place after the first round but was overtaken by world number one, Slovenian Kritjan Ceh as well as Olympic champion Daniel Stahl who made their presence known on their second attempt.

Impressing over the metric mile were two of Australia’s fastest over the distance as Georgia Griffith and Linden Hall  toed the line against a world-class field. In her first race back after an Achilles injury in May, Griffith held on to the back of the main pack finding herself in ninth place across the finish line at 4:09.01.  While Hall made in roads battling towards the front of the field, she came unstuck with 550m to go after being clipped on the heel, which caused her to lose her shoe. The Olympic finalist finished in 11th place in 4:09.39.Commonwealth silver medallist Brooke Buschkuehl was nothing but consistent over the Australian summer and emulated that manner in her European season opener when leaping to 6.40m (+0.5) in the Women’s Long Jump. Finding her form again in her last two jumps, the Olympic finalist placed sixth, producing her best jump on her fifth and final attempt.

The Men’s Pole Vault field suffered the most in the conditions, with competition delayed for close to two hours. Kurtis Marschall cleared just two heights at 5.42m and 5.62m – both on his second attempt – but found himself outclassed with four athletes able to vault to heights of 5.72m and above. The event was won by world champion and world record holder Armand Duplantis, who took out the field at 5.82m.

Up against a field which included world champion and world record holder Tobi Amusan (NGR), Michelle Jenneke came away with seventh place after crossing the line in 13.01 (0.9).

Former Australian 800m record holder Joseph Deng was unable to match his last performance that saw him meet the Budapest qualifying, when racing to seventh place in 1:47.01.

Also racing in Stockholm in a non-Diamond League event was Jack Rayner who clocked 7:54.79 in the 3000m to finish in ninth place.

Media release thanks to Athletics Australia