Peter Bol

Peter Bol

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Meet Peter

Signet is courtside at Richmond's Burnley Park with Aussie 800 metre runner Peter Bol. Burna Boy is pumping through a speaker while Bol takes a break from playing basketball with some local kids to chat with us about his Sudanese heritage, the importance of family and his preparations for the future.

Middle-distance runner, coach, keynote speaker, proud Sudanese–Australian and an all-round good guy, Peter Bol holds the title for the fastest Australian ever to run the 800 metres. Despite his incredible achievements, Bol remains an unexpectedly average 29-year-old Aussie who loves “trash talking while playing FIFA with his mates and shooting hoops at the local park.” Bol's life may have started overseas but his immigration journey, family values and the joy he found in the sports he loves, could not be more Australian.

“It's hard to talk trash while running, you just run out of breath. I love the banter, but I have to save it for the basketball court or the PlayStation .”

Nagmeldin 'Peter' Bol's run began in South Sudan, where his family originated. They sought refuge from local conflicts and an escalating war, first escaping to Egypt when he was four years old before immigrating to Australia. Bol reflects on the tough sacrifices made by his parents during troubled times, recognising the move as difficult but necessary for their family.

“My family just wanted to get us to a safer place. We chose Australia because we had family in Toowoomba, Queensland. They talked about Australia, and they sold it to us as a dream. My parents said we'd love to get there someday and just filled out the forms. We got accepted and it was the dream that we were looking for.”

Bol's earliest memories are a blend of childhood antics with his brothers, dodging wild dogs in Egypt, and running competitions at home. “I just wanted to beat my brothers” Bol says laughing. Running, initially a game and part of everyday life, would later grow into a passion that would open doors to representing his new home in the sport.

“I ran to school and played outside every single day. I wasn't exposed to the technology and the phones that everyone probably has here and now. We had so little, and I tended to spend all my time outside. Where I'm from, you just grow up running. It was almost a game. I never recognised it as being a sport until I actually came to Australia.”

Upon arriving in Australia, Bol loved the sense of freedom, the Tim Tams and the choices Australia offered him, but he found the Aussie slang took some getting used to.

“I loved the sense of freedom and that I could just walk out and play in the street without my parents having to worry about if I was safe or not. I did learn early on that Aussies shorten everything, and that everyone's your 'mate'. It's pretty friendly, but hard to get your head around when English isn't your first language!”

“I didn't actually win a medal, but I won the support of the nation, which is pretty cool.”

Bol's talent on the track and in the 800 metre event sent him to multiple world championships and eventually the 2020 Tokyo Games where his popularity skyrocketed. “I didn't actually win a medal, but I won the support of the nation, which is pretty cool.”  The Australian public rallied behind him as he became one of the most widely recognised Australian athletes, unable to walk down the street without getting stopped by fans.

“I had the best experience at the Tokyo Games. I performed well, and the support of the Australian community was just unreal. I rocked up with 7,000 followers on my Instagram and came out with over 50,000. That support was probably the most special thing.”

For Bol, family was the only constant in his life while they moved around the world and within Australia. “I've relocated to so many different places. Family is the only constant that I had moving from Sudan, to Egypt, to Australia and then within Australia, from Toowoomba, to Perth and finally to Melbourne. They've always been there for me and that's why they're so important.”

Footage of Peter's family and friends celebrating his run at the Tokyo Games captured the hearts of Aussies and the media. Viewers praised the wholesome support shown to the runner as well as the sheer numbers of supporters he had at home. “The footage went viral, but I don't know what the big deal was... more people turned up to my nephew's birthday party.”

The joy Bol finds in running, despite its challenges, was evident as he describes the meditative state achieved during competition. “When I'm competing and running at my fastest times, it's just beautiful, it's almost like meditating. When I get it right, I'm just in the present moment and I'm either embracing or blocking out everything that's around me.  It's a hard feeling to describe but it's almost like I've got no weight on my shoulders, no pressure. I'm just calm. There's no worries in the world and I'm just at peace. I think that's probably the best way to describe it.”

“I want to be the best in the world, to wear the Green and Gold again and hopefully, win this time.”

As Peter Bol sets his sights on representing Australia again in 2024, he's focused on not only winning but also of giving back to the community that rallied behind him. “I want to be the best in the world, to wear the Green and Gold again and hopefully, win this time. That is why I got into this sport…well that and I get to travel a lot. I also want to give back to this country outside of the track... I want to help people and inspire them to achieve their best.”

Outside the track Peter has become a popular mentor and keynote speaker, inspiring the Australian community that has supported him in his journey.

“I've been running, mentoring, coaching and doing a lot of public speaking over the last few years and it's thanks to sponsors like Signet that I get to do the things I care about and bring me joy. It's pretty special to be at a level where companies want to get behind and support you. I'm grateful for Signet's support.”

Signet is proud to run with Peter Bol as a member of Team Signet. Join us as we get behind him, the rest of the team, and over 60,000 Aussie ventures all chasing their own dreams.

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