Buckman out to buck the trend in 1500m
ATHLETICS: Grafton-born middle distance runner Zoe Buckman remains one of Australia's best chances to medal in the elusive 1500m.
No Australian has medalled in the 1500m run since it was introduced for women at the 1972 Munich Olympics. But the former charge of Junction Hill athletics coach Terry West has the chance to become the first.
She booked her place in this morning's semi-final showdown by finishing sixth in heat three.
The runner almost had her dreams of a second Olympic semi-finals berth dashed as she found herself boxed in on the rails when the field began to break on the last lap.
Buckman muscled her way through the pack before dropping back to find space to cross the finish line in sixth in 4:06.93.
Buckman's sixth was good enough for an automatic entry to the semi-finals, while fellow Australian competitors Linden Hall and Jenny Blundell also progressed to the next stage.
"It's good to be through," she said.
"I came back from injury so I was not sure I'd even make the Olympics and here I am out of the first round. I want to do all I can to make the final now."
It was almost not to be for the track star after she faced a long journey back from injury to even reach the Rio Olympic Games.
Buckman worked tirelessly under the watchful gaze of coach Nic Bideau at the Melbourne Track Club to get herself back to peak fitness in time for the games.
With fellow 1500-metre runner Melissa Duncan a late withdrawal from Rio, it opened the door for Buckamn to be a late qualifier for her second Olympic games.
Buckman's semi-final will be run at 10.30am AEST today.