Australian 1500m champion Ryan Gregson has called for a national 12-man final after one of his main rivals fell in a messy mid-race bunch-up.
The Rio Olympics finalist continued a fine domestic season in Sydney on Sunday, holding off training mate Matt Ramsden to defend his title in three minutes 52.86 seconds.
But he was disappointed when the large field made for a slow and chaotic race, which saw one of the favourites, Jordan Gusman, fall with a lap to go and cross last nearly 20 seconds adrift.
“It’s a shame and I wish Athletics Australia would make it a 12-man final, because that’s what happens when there are too many in it and it’s slow,” Gregson said.
“Three extra people on the track leads to bad things and it’s such a shame Gusman went down because he was one of the favourites to win this race.
“It was such an ugly race and you hate seeing people go down like this.”
The field in Olympic 1500m finals is traditionally limited to 12.
But timetable constraints at the Australian championships prevents three rounds, meaning 15 are taken into the final.
Gregson himself was nearly pulled down in the commotion, which he said put him off as Ramsden (3:53.12) chased him down.
“Running down the home straight I felt quite tired and I could see on the screen that Ramsden was catching me and it’s because it’s hard to stay relaxed when you nearly go down with 450m to go,” he said.
“You tense up naturally and that puts lactic straight in your legs, so I’m just happy to win.
“I think my strength is my finish and I was never going to lead until 200m to go.”