Since finishing fourth in the men’s 800 meter final at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, Peter Bol has become a national hero.
Everyone knows his name, his face, his story, and he felt that he was coming into the 800 final at the Commonwealth Games.
“I felt like the favourite. I knew there was a lot of pressure, a lot of expectations,” he said after claiming silver behind Kenya’s Wyclife Kinyamal.
“But at the same time, in our sport pressure’s a privilege. We know it’s there. And I was relaxed, really confident. [I] felt really strong.
“I thought I could really win it tonight. I just came short and can’t say any more than that.”
After Oliver Hoare’s heroics in the men’s 1,500 meters final a day earlier, it was hoped Bol could produce another classic on the track.
The 28-year-old was in the mix for most of the race, but Kinyamal started to make his move with around 250 meters left.
Bol tried his best to stay with him, but couldn’t reel him in.
He called the result “bittersweet”, in what he described as a slow race.
“You look at the start list and there’s no front runners out there. So I just knew it was gonna be tactical and I knew I’m gonna come home strong and I think we did so I’m happy with that.”
Bol was thankful to finally win his first major international medal, after missing out in Tokyo, and his seventh place at the recent World Championships.
“I think the most powerful thing out of this whole 800, out of this whole athletics journey is the impact we’ve had off the track and how much support and love we’ve had.
“Even if I came [up] short, I think that love is consistent and that’s what I’m grateful for.”
Caldwell takes 1500m bronze, Buschkuehl long jump silver
Abbey Caldwell found something extra in the tank to power home and claim a bronze medal in the women’s 1500 meter final, behind Scotland’s Laura Muir and Northern Ireland’s Ciara Mageean.
“I don’t know where that came from, I just think I saw the girls in front and I found that extra gear,” she said.
Caldwell was contentiously left off the Australian team for the World Championships, despite being the national champion and running a qualifying time.
But she didn’t show any bitterness towards selectors.
“Why look back and regret decisions and dwell on that? Just do what you can, what’s in your control, and that’s what we’ve been doing,” she said.
“It just meant I was able to put all my eggs in this basket and I’ve had this in my mind for so long now and I’ve had time to train and it’s really given me that extra bit of hunger and it means so much.”
Brooke Buschkuehl capped off the night for Australia with her second straight silver medal in the women’s long jump.