Impressive 800m wins in Vienna for Australian duo

Middle-distance young guns Peyton Craig and Bendere Oboya have made strong late bids to force their way into the stacked Australian 800m squad for the Paris Olympics with impressive wins in Vienna.

With only a week to go in the qualifying period, teen star Craig and 24-year-old Oboya each smashed their personal best (PB) while dipping under the Olympic qualifying standard.

Such is Australia's depth in the 800m that national record holders Joseph Deng and Catriona Bisset could both miss out on the team for the Paris Games.

Craig won the men's 800m at Track Night Vienna on Saturday (early Sunday AEST) in one minute 44.12 seconds, obliterating the Australian under-20 record and moving up to third spot on the senior national alltime list.

Racing for the first time in several months, Deng was fourth in 1:46.41.

Tokyo Olympics finalist Peter Bol has been pre-selected for the 800m and the Athletics Australia panel could pick either or both of Craig and Deng to run alongside him in Paris.

Reigning national champ Luke Boyes is also still in the frame, although he may well be extremely unlucky.

Boyes shot to prominence when he beat Bol and Craig to win the Australian title in Adelaide in April in 1:44.73 - three-hundredths of a second outside the qualifying standard.

Deng was absent through injury.

Luke Boyes
Luke Boyes beat Peter Bol and Peyton Craig (left) to win the 2024 Australian 800m title. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

But with a host of national championships taking place around the globe next weekend, Boyes is set to drop out of the top 45 in the world rankings.

If anything, the situation is even tighter in the women's 800m.

Teen sensation Claudia Hollingsworth and 2022 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Abbey Caldwell were pre-selected for the Paris Olympics after finishing 1-2 at the Australian titles in early April.

Oboya has taken giant strides since stepping up in distance from the 400m to the 800m, as shown by her victory in a PB of 1:58.56 in Vienna.

Her training partner Hollingsworth was third in 2:00.02.

The Australian selectors must decide whether the third spot in the women's two-lap race goes to the in-form Oboya or Bisset.

The 30-year-old Bisset (1:57.58) has the fastest qualifying time of all the Australians, but that was set back in July last year and she has been unable to replicate that form in 2024.

The Australian Olympic track and field team will be announced in early July.

As was the case in the women's marathon, when an aggrieved Lisa Weightman was overlooked in favour of Commonwealth champ Jess Stenson, there is scope for appeals in the middle-distance events where Australia boasts unprecedented strength in depth.