'Wow': Disbelief as Aussie Peter Bol seals 53-year first at Olympics

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Pictured here, Australia's Peter Bol reacts after setting a new Oceania record in the 800m at the Olympics.
Australia's Peter Bol set a new Oceania record in the 800m to qualify for the Olympic final. Pic: Getty

Middle distance runner Peter Bol has delivered a stunning warning to his Olympic Games rivals after becoming the first Australian man in 53 years to qualify for the final of the 800m.

Bol won his semi-final on Sunday night in a new personal best time of 1:44.11 seconds to set a new Oceania record.

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In doing so, the track and field star became the first Aussie man since the 1968 Games to book a spot in the final of the event.

Born in Sudan, the 27-year-old's family fled to Egypt when he was four years old, where he lived in a refugee camp until moving to Australia.

On Sunday night, Bol rocketed into medal contention with the run of his life to leave veteran Aussie commentator Bruce McAvaney gushing with pride.

"He did everything right and takes the record again," McAvaney beamed after the race.

“He can win the gold medal. He can win the gold medal tomorrow night. That’s what he could do tomorrow night. He is in the mix,” he added.

Viewers were equally as excited on social media, where the plaudits rolled in thick and fast for Bol.

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Slow start costs Rohan Browning in 100m sprint

There were contrasting fortunes for Australia's track and field stars on Sunday night, with 100m sprint sensation Rohan Browning's fairytale coming to a sad end a little earlier.

Browning's bid to become the first Australian man in 65 years to contest an Olympic 100m final ended after a slow start consigned him to a fifth-place finish in the semi-finals.

The 23-year-old Sydneysider was left to rue his start after clocking 10.09 seconds - slower than his time in the heats.

Only 24 hours earlier Browning had improved to second on the Australian all-time list by winning his opening-round heat in 10.01, raising hopes he could join countryman Patrick Johnson as the only members of the exclusive sub-10 second club.

"I just never got out and then I had my work cut out for me," Browning told the Seven Network.

"I feel like I came back well through the end of the race but I left myself with too much work to do and it is only 100 metres.

"I've been consistent this year, and I've been knocking on the door of sub-10, a big breakthrough.

"Hopefully it comes later in the year in Europe.

"I'll definitely walk away from this experience with a lot learned."

Seen here, the slow start that cost Australia's Rohan Browning in the 100m semi-finals.
A slow start cost Australia's Rohan Browning the chance of qualifying for the 100m sprint final. Pic: Ch7/Getty

British sprinter Zharnel Hughes won the semi involving Browning in 9.98, while China's Su Bingtian led all qualifiers for Sunday night's final in 9.83.

Despite the understandable initial disappointment from Browning, it was still a huge step forward on the global stage.

"I feel like this season I've had all the component parts of the race - it has been about putting it together in one run and it is coming," he said.

"But that's part of figuring out the event and racing at this championship level.

"In 2019 (in Doha) I ran basically dead last in my heat at the world championships, so I'm heading in the right direction."

The last Australian man to contest an Olympic 100m final was Hec Hogan, who won bronze in the 1956 Melbourne Games.

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