Written by Athletics Australia

Oregon, USA; July 21, 2022 –  Tokyo sensation Peter Bol (WA) will become the first ever Australian to contest the 800m final at the World Athletics Championships this Saturday, but his pathway to the medal round was not without a nervous wait.

The world number four crossed the line third in his semi-final, but with only two athletes automatically advancing from each race, the Western Australian faced an anxious moment waiting for the following two races to find out if his efforts were enough to progress.

A smooth start to the race saw the 28-year-old coast through the first lap, and in his typical racing style, Bol began to make a move over the last 300m, leading the race with Kenyan Wycliffe Kisasy. Unbeknownst to Bol, Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir kicked into gear with 100m to go, and stormed past the Australian in the final 30 metres to claim victory.

Unhappy with his 1:45.58 time and his placing, Bol had all but given up hope until his coach Justin Rinaldi informed him that he had squeezed into the final by 0.09 seconds.

 

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“With my race plan, I always look to win the race. Not to come top-two or top-three. If you race top-three, you can race a little smarter and sit at the back, but I try to win races. I’ve won the majority of my races this year or come second. This was probably the worst race of my year.”

Despite his rocky journey to the final, Bol still sits as contender for his maiden global medal.

“I guess the greatest thing is, this is only a semi-final. It doesn’t mean those two are going to win medals and it doesn’t mean the heat winners are going to win medals. It’s a restart. Every man for themselves again.”

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National record holder Catriona Bisset (VIC) was the only Australian athlete out of three to advance to the Women’s 800m semi-final, but her progression came in dramatic fashion as the Victorian crashed to ground after being pulled down by Slovenian Anita Horvat over the final bend of the race.

Bisset had been in third place prior to the fall, setting herself up nicely for a semi-finals berth but finished last after emphatically picking herself up to complete the race. The jury deliberated the incident and added the Australian and Italian Elena Bello to the semi finals for being the athletes most affected by the crash.

The youngest athlete at the World Athletics Championships, 17-year-old Claudia Hollingsworth had her first taste of international competition, running 2:04.11 in Heat 5 of the Women’s 800m. The Year 12 student will have another crack at global competition as she travels to the World Athletics Under 20 Championships in Cali, Colombia this August.

Tess Kirsopp-Cole (VIC) was the third Australian women to contest the hot event, and finished her heat in 8th place crossing the line in 2:05.74.

Ky Robinson (QLD) came into his first senior event as a relatively-unknown runner amongst the world’s best distance athletes and leaves as a rising star after a classy effort in the Men’s 5000m. Robinson placed 7th in his heat and although the 20-year-old will not advance, his gutsy effort was applauded over the 12 and a half laps. Racing towards the back of the pack for the majority of the race, Robinson worked tactically, making an aggressive move on the bell lap in an attempt to overtake his competitors.

While the senior team debutant lost steam coming down the home straight, the fourth place getter at the recent NCAA Championships finished in a time of 13:27.03 – his third fastest 5000m race of all time.

“Coming in, I knew I wasn’t ranked the highest and I just wanted to beat one or two people. I had zero expectations going in. Anything that would happen I would be happy with and I did way better than that,” Robinson said.

“It gives me all the confidence in the world. After the NCAAs, I wasn’t in the mindset to keep racing but I got the call up for this. I had to rebuild the confidence from taking a bit of time off. I raced like this to get 8th in the field against these guys – guys I’ve looked up to in the last few years. It’s ridiculous.”

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Western Australian Matt Ramsden (WA) took to the track for the second time at these championships and mustered up a 13:52.90 run to place 35th overall.

Two of Australia’s budding javelin athletes Cameron McEntyre (NSW) and Cruz Hogan (WA) found themselves knocked out of competition after their qualifying rounds. McEntyre finished in 11th place in his qualifying group with a final throw of 77.50, while Hogan placed 13th in his group throwing 73.03m.

Day 8 of the World Athletics Championships will see reigning world champion Kelsey-Lee Barber (QLD) attempt to defend her title alongside compatriot Mackenzie Little (NSW) as well as mother-of-four Kelly Ruddick (VIC) tackle the inaugural Women’s 35km Race Walk.

NO BUGLES NO DRUMS – PETER SNELL’S BIOGRAPHY BY GARTH GILMOUR (Click on the cover above.