Craig Mottram joins the Peter Bol saga

Having left the US college system before turning pro in the US, Hoare is on the American OAC squad based in Boulder, Colorado and trains with American superstar Yared Nuguse and Kenyan distance legend Hellen Obiri.

“With the group that they have now formed in the USA, they have probably the best three or four male middle-distance runners in the world,” said Mottram.

“That’s what we want to be down here. We have no illusions that when it comes to being that desirable group, it won’t happen this year. But we have to build it and use the success of the team that we currently have in the US to help us make it work.

“And we will. We need it badly down here.”

Ollie Hoare won gold in the 1500m at the Commonwealth Games.

Ollie Hoare won gold in the 1500m at the Commonwealth Games.Credit:Getty

OAC is a different concept in athletics, with runners signing with the team backed by ON, a running shoe and apparel band that emerged from Switzerland a decade ago.

Athletes are paid a salary, have all expenses covered, train as a team, have access to OAC bases in Europe, the USA and now Australia with tracks, gyms, trainers and medical staff and compete in the OAC uniform.

OAC is more like a signing to play for a football club than the typical agreement where an athlete enters into a sponsorship deal with a runner and equipment company.

A gym was built in Richmond for the club’s Australian base. Mottram personally selected the first five athletes to be signed to OAC Oceania and selected four female rising stars and one veteran, with plans to expand to a dozen athletes over the next year.

With the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Victoria and the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane in mind, Mottram selected five young, developing athletes: Olympic steeplechase runner Ben Buckingham is the oldest of the five; rising teenage star Claudia Hollingsworth, who is in 12th grade but has already represented Australia at the World Championships; Tess Kirsopp-Cole, who has also raced at the World Championships; Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 800m runner Keely Small and 1500m runner Maudie Skyring.

“The goal from my point of view, which is also supported globally, is to build this thing with developing athletes and go on and work with them,” Mottram said.

“The only way to be truly believable is to actually build them and work within your model to achieve success based on what you do with them, rather than just shop them.

“We don’t poach athletes, we build athletes.”

Hoare is in Australia for the weekend’s World Cross Country Champions, where Australia won bronze in the mixed relay, and to run Thursday night’s Maurie Plant Meet at Albert Park.

He will compete against Rio 1500m Olympic gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz Jr of the US and Australian champion Stewart McSweyn, who said he is back on form after a frustrating 2022.


“I think I’m in pretty good shape to have a good year,” McSweyn said.

“Obviously, things went wrong for me early last year. So I’m pretty confident that I’ll start the season in much better shape than I was a year ago.

“I hope I can take a big step forward and be right back where I was in 2020. Hopefully even better.”

News, results and expert analysis from the sports weekend are sent out every Monday. Sign up for our sports newsletter. Craig Mottram joins the Peter Bol saga

Ryan Sederquist

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