Hackett Eyes The Triple Crown
Craig Lord
Beijing - 1,500m heats: Hoogie has gone but the Aussie Ironman is alive, kicking and heading into lane four of the 30-lap final with an Olympic record of 14:38.92, erasing Canadian Ryan Cochran's 14:40.84 from heat 3

Hoogie's chance has gone Grant Hackett's eye is still on the target: a ticket to the elite lounge founded by fellow Aussie Dawn Fraser back in 1964. After 32 lonely years, Fraser was finally able to raise a glass when she was joined by Krisztina Egerszegi, of Hungary. Now Hackett, with an Olympic record of 14:38.92 in the last heat of the 1,500m is knocking on the door of the triple crown club.

The world record holder, closer than he has ever come to getting back to that 2001 monument to metronomic excellence - 14:34.56 - looked smooth, comfortable and on course for a very special moment on Sunday morning. Time will tell in what promises to be a blistering race. It took 14:49.53 to make the final, that time clocked by Athens silver medallist Larsen Jensen (USA). World champion Mateusz Sawrymowicz (POL) was locked out, on 14:50.30. An Olympic final qualification that required a sub 14:50. It had been on the cards but is no less stunning for all of that.

Ryan Cochrane (CAN) and Yury Prilukov (RUS) set the tone for the heats with a boiling battle that ended in the Canadian setting an Olympic record of 14:40.84. The Russian set a European record of 14:41.13. Kieren Perkins suddenly found himself fourth on the all-time list after having been top two since 1991. David Davies (GBR) went through in 5th on 14:46.11, 0.16sec shy of what won him bronze in Athens. 

The next heat saw Oussama Mellouli (TUN) keep 17-year-old Sun Yang (CHN) at bay, 14:47.76, and African record, to 14:48.39, an Asian record that would not last long but contrasts with a best time of 15:14.39 a year ago. Sun yang is the off-the-chart entry in the final. 

Hackett swam the last heat in the way he always done when at best - out in front. Zhang Lin (CHN) went with him and was rewarded with an Asian record of 14:45.84 by the end, while Jensen claimed the last sub 14:50 time and last place in the final. 

No fewer than 12 men raced inside 15 minutes, and did so by a wide margin: the gap between the Pole and 12th was 14:50.30 to 14:53.32. Among those locked out were Federico Colbertaldo (ITA) and Peter Vanderkaay (USA) and Craig Stevens (AUS).