Emmanuel Korir, the Kenyan runner who won the 800m gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Wednesday night, had only good things to say about his competitor, Aussie rising star Peter Bol.
It was a close race and during the second lap, 27-year-old Bol broke off from the pack to take the lead. However on the home stretch, Korir and two others managed to outsprint the Aussie.
In his post-race interview, winner Korir explained that it was Bol’s tenacity early on which really motivated him in the end.
“I didn’t have any strategy. I just thought I would try and follow and see what would happen,” Korir told reporters.
“There was nobody who wanted to take the pace, so I just said I was going to control it. The Australian guy, Bol, he did something good for me.”
Bol ultimately came in fourth place after a mammoth effort to bring it home on the final straight. You can watch the moment Korir, his Kenyan teammate Ferguson Rotich and Polish runner Patryk Dobek overtook Bol at the very last moment here.
Just how impressive is @pbol800?
His fourth is the highest place by an Australian male on the track since Darren Clark’s fourth in the 400m in 1988 – 33 years ago.#TokyoTogether
— AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) August 4, 2021
The whole thing came down to a fraction of a second. While Bol might not have won a medal, he absolutely won the hearts of the nation.
His run marked the first time an Aussie had even made the 800m final in over 50 years, and his time makes him the fourth-fastest 800m runner in the world. That’s bloody huge.
“I think today, I didn’t know if I was going to win but I knew one thing for certain, that the whole of Australia was watching. That carried me on. I loved that part about it,” Bol said in his own post-race interview.
Let’s see what Paris 2024 holds.