Tokyo Olympics: Peter Bol’s family watch on from Thornlie home as son makes Australia proud in Tokyo

Michael Traill and Samantha RogersThe West Australian
The nation was watching on as Peter Bol raced in the 800m Olympic final but in a house in Thornlie, his family were holding their breath.
Camera IconThe nation was watching on as Peter Bol raced in the 800m Olympic final but in a house in Thornlie, his family were holding their breath.

As Australia was glued to their TV screens, witnessing Perth’s Peter Bol cement his Olympic legacy, one set of eyes could not bear to watch — his mother’s.

Hanan Kuku said she was far too nervous to watch her son take on the world’s best in the Olympic 800 metre race final on Wednesday night.

As she took refuge inside a small side room in the family’s Thornlie home, her living room was bursting to the brim with family and friends fighting over space in front of the TV.

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The crowd of excited and anxious faces began chanting “Peter” before the 27-year-old even took to the starting line.

Trophies and medals earned in his childhood were proudly on display in front of the TV, which occasionally crossed back to the madness inside the lounge room from a well-placed 7NEWS camera stationed inside.

Roars erupted inside as the race began, the chants grew louder and wishful prayers were being made by some of those inside.

Bol, however, fell agonisingly short of a spot on the podium.

Bol fell agonisingly short of a spot on the Olympic podium.
Camera IconBol fell agonisingly short of a spot on the Olympic podium. Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

“It’s just been unreal, the support from home,” Bol told Sunrise this morning.

“Even from the (Olympic) village, it’s just been unreal. I’m so grateful for it.

“It’s been a crazy week up here in Tokyo.

“As I saw them all in the house, I just thought they probably need a bigger house, there was so many people watching at home.

“My parents have just always been invested in me as a person and they called me a week before and said ‘you’ve already made us proud’.

“Then my dad said ‘actually, I think you’ve made all of Australia proud’... and that was so important to me.

“It’s kind of an emotional moment for me, seeing them all up on the screens and stuff, it’s been awesome.”

Perth Olympian Peter Bol's family watch him race the 800 metre race in Tokyo
Camera IconPerth Olympian Peter Bol's family watch him race the 800 metre race in Tokyo Credit: The West Australian

Bol’s personal best time of 1:44.11sec. — the Australian record he set in the semifinal — was slower than only two of his rivals in Wednesday night’s final. And his 1:45.92sec., in the race won by Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir, was well outside his best.

“Credit to them, Kenya. They credit themselves on being home of the champions, they’ve dominated the 800m.

“It was never going to be an easy race and they came to win, just like I did.

“But the thing is, everyone in the 800m comes to win and there can only be one winner.”

But the result did not matter to his most avid supporters.

Chants of “Peter who? Peter Bol” and “Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi” continued well after the 800m run had finished.

Bol’s cousin, Abra Bol, said the support he’s received across Australia gave him motivation heading into the final.

Perth Olympian Peter Bol's family watch him race the 800 metre race in Tokyo
Camera IconPerth Olympian Peter Bol's family watch him race the 800 metre race in Tokyo Credit: The West Australian

“It was amazing. . . As I’ve said a hundred times, win or lose, he’s made us proud, he’s already won gold,” he said.

“Regardless, we’ve made history.

“To see all the support and all the love that Peter is getting, that’s what tonight is about. . . I can’t wait for him to come (back home).”

Bol’s father, Abdalla, said the 27-year-old had already won before Wednesday night’s final began.

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