‘There will be complaints about the noise’: Peter Bol’s family in Perth prepare for Olympic 800m final


There is a door that leads to the Bol family lounge with a huge bump.

On Sunday night, the house was packed with family and friends who gathered to watch Sudanese Australian Nagmeldin ‘Peter’ Bol, 27, advance to the men’s 800m final at the Tokyo Olympics.

“You can see through the wall, one of the doors is broken. I think everyone was jumping in their place, ”Bol’s brother Izeldin, 19, told SBS News.

People will come from all over Perth’s southern suburbs “from Maddington, Gosnells, Thornlie” to watch on Wednesday, he said.

“We are going to receive some noise complaints. “

Peter Bol’s family at their Perth home.

Aaron Fernandes, SBS News

On Wednesday evening, Bol will become the first Australian to participate in the Olympic 800m final since 1968.

The Bol family throws an even bigger watch festival in Perth than the one who introduced them to the Australian public last week when cellphone images of their exuberant celebration were shared on social media.

“I helped him train, so I saw him train here and in Brisbane. I’ve seen his improvements, “Bol’s cousin Abra, 21, said.

“[Sunday] was crazy. If you were here you would have been in shock. It was nice to see him win.

Inside their home in the southern outskirts of Perth, a big-screen TV takes up most of the hallmark living room wall, with dozens of sporting medals from Bol – and his siblings – proudly displayed in front.

A reluctant runner

Bol’s gold race on Wednesday night will be the final chapter in a family story that began in Africa decades ago.

His father, Abdalla Mador Bol – who is from what is now South Sudan – and his Sudanese mother, Hanan Kuku, left Khartoum during the Second Sudanese Civil War. They spent four years in Egypt, effectively stateless.

From Cairo, the family applied for humanitarian visas to resettle in Australia and arrived in 2004.

The family first lived in Toowoomba, Queensland, where the youngest daughter Nyi was born and father Abdalla worked on a farm.

“I didn’t speak much English when we arrived, only a little. But the situation was better here than in Egypt, ”he said.

They then moved to Perth to seek better work opportunities and Bol was awarded a basketball scholarship to attend St Norbert College High School.

As he stood out on the pitch, his athletic abilities went unnoticed until the 15-year-old received a chance invitation.

The Bol family

All eyes will be on Wednesday night’s Olympics.

Aaron Fernandes, SBS News

“We had an athletics carnival in 2008, and I needed a runner. One student said to me: ‘Miss, Peter can run,’ “said Helen ‘Hels’ Leahy, former Bol teacher.

“I said, ‘Peter, can you run the 400m?’ And he said, “How far is that? “

“I said ‘once around the track’. He said ‘yes I can do it.'”

Ms Leahy says Peter ran an amazing race that day, beating his competitors by 80m.

“So I asked him to run the 800m, and he said ‘how far is it?’ I said, ‘it’s two laps around.’ He absolutely blitzed it.

Peter Bol won the men's 800m semi-final in Tokyo on Sunday.

Peter Bol won the men’s 800m semi-final in Tokyo on Sunday.


At first, Bol was reluctant to take the run and give up his first love of basketball, but the following year Ms. Leahy introduced him to his father, Brian Moore.

Mr. Moore, who died in 2015, kept records of Bol’s races and served as a mentor and friend during his developmental years.

“We met Peter and his family and it all started from there,” Ms. Leahy said.

“He joined a club, very quickly won gold at the Australian championships. He progressed very quickly.

Helen Leahy helped introduce Bol to athletics.

Helen Leahy helped introduce Bol to athletics.

Aaron Fernandes, SBS News

Bol’s siblings say they have noticed that his habits at home are starting to change.

“I saw some of his races at school and he came back with trophies. I think that’s when we realized, ”says Izeldin.

“He started to change a bit. I didn’t even know what Weet-Bix was. I started to see Weet-Bix, then bananas. I had only seen them on TV.

“Sometimes, having his own meals, I thought he was a little weird, but he just did.”

Bol won the national junior 800m title in 2013 before moving to Melbourne in 2015 to be coached by Justin Rinaldi.

“I was coaching Alex Rowe, who held the Australian record at the time and Peter was a promising young athlete,” says Rinaldi.

“But he lived in Perth, and I just thought that if he had a little more structure for his training and his approach, he could really improve.

“His goal was to compete in the 2016 Olympics, I knew he could do it. But when he came to Melbourne, I realized how talented this kid was. And I believe in him a lot since he came to Melbourne because I just saw the dedication he put in and the raw talent he had.

He is a talent that will have a whole country, and a home in particular, behind him on Wednesday night.

The men’s 800m final will take place on Wednesday August 4 at 10:05 p.m. AEST (8:05 p.m. AEST).

Read more stories about Tokyo 2020 here.

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