• Curtis Anderson

Five OTC Elite athletes set for World Championships


EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon Track Club Elite will have a strong presence at the 2019 IAAF World Championships to be held Sept. 27-Oct. 6 at Khalifa Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

Five OTC Elite athletes have secured berths in the 10-day meet.

Ben Blankenship (1,500m), Hanna Green (800m) and Hassan Mead (5,000m) are members of Team USA, while Scotland's Neil Gourley (1,500m) competes for Great Britain and Nijel Amos (800m) represents Botswana.

Under the guidance of coach Mark Rowland, it has already been a highly successful season for those athletes. This will be Mead's third straight appearance at Worlds, Amos qualified for the second time, and Blankenship, Green and Gourley will be making their World Championship debuts.

"We're all aware that this is the sharp end of the season and we will be judged upon how well we race at the Championships," Rowland said. "It's an exciting period ... it's my aim to enable the athletes at this stage to be fearless, but realistic in their approach so they will have a positive experience as they progress into the Olympic year."

Here's a quick glance at the five OTC Elite athletes competing at Worlds (all times PDT):

NIJEL AMOS (800m)

Round 1 - Saturday, Sept. 28, 7:15 a.m.

Semifinal - Sunday, Sept. 29, 11:55 a.m.

Final - Tuesday, Oct. 1, 12:10 p.m.

Amos, a silver medalist at the 2012 London Olympics, owns the world's fastest time in the 800m this year. He ran 1:41.89 to win the Diamond League race in Monaco on July 12, his third DL victory of the season, 16th of his career, and only .16 off his personal best of 1:41.73. Amos, the first Olympic medalist from Botswana, looks to improve on his 5th-place performance in the 800m at the 2017 World Championships.

BEN BLANKENSHIP (1,500m)

Round 1 - Thursday, Oct. 3, 12:00 p.m.

Semifinal - Friday, Oct. 4, 10:05 a.m.

Final - Sunday, Oct. 6, 9:40 a.m.

Blankenship, a finalist in the 1,500m at the 2016 Rio Olympics, is making his first appearance at the World Championships. He was 5th in the 1,500m at the 2018 World Indoor Championships. Blankenship is coming off an impressive double at The Match - a dual meet between Europe and USA on Sept. 9-10 in Minsk, Belarus - in which he placed third in the 1,500m, and came back to win the 3,000m the following day. He has a season best of 3:36.22 in the 1,500m, and also posted PRs in the mile (3:52.51, Pre Classic) and 5,000m (13:33.87, Belgium).

HANNA GREEN (800m)

Round 1 - Friday, Sept. 27, 7:10 a.m.

Semifinal - Saturday, Sept. 28, 9:15 a.m.

Final - Monday, Sept. 30, 12:10 p.m.

Green steps onto the World Championship stage for the first time after a breakthrough season in which she lowered her 800m PR to 1:58.19, earned runner-up honors at the USA Championships, and won her first Diamond League title in Paris. She comes into Doha as the world's fifth-fastest 800m performer this year. Green also established a personal best in the 1,500m with a time of 4:06.66 at the Music City Distance Carnival in Nashville.

NEIL GOURLEY (1,500m)

Round 1 - Thursday, Oct. 3, 12:00 p.m.

Semifinal - Friday, Oct. 4, 10:05 a.m.

Final - Sunday, Oct. 6, 9:40 a.m.

Gourley, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, comes into Doha as the reigning British Indoor and Outdoor 1,500m champion. It will be his first appearance at the World Championships. He won the indoor title in February and the outdoor crown in August, with both meets being held in Birmingham, England. The former Virginia Tech standout set personal bests in the 1,500m (3:35.95) and 800m (1:46.12) this summer in his first year with OTC Elite.

HASSAN MEAD (5,000m)

Round 1 - Friday, Sept. 27, 9:45 a.m.

Final - Monday, Sept. 30, 11:20 a.m.

This will be Mead's third consecutive appearance at the World Championships. The 2016 Rio Olympian in the 5,000m placed 15th overall in the 10,000m at the past two Championships in Beijing (2015) and London (2017). Mead was fourth in the 5,000m at the USA Championships this summer, but earned his spot in Doha by virtue of his victory at the 2018 North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships (NACAC) in Toronto. His season best in the 5,000m is 13:23.15.