Gold Coast 2018 star Joseph Deng last week broke a 49 year old Australian 800m record at the Diamond League in Monaco and this week returned home to fanfare.
The 20-year-old former refugee recorded a time of 1:44.21 to beat Ralph Doubell’s 1:44.40 set in 1968 at the Mexico City Olympics and Alex Rowe who equalled Doubell in Monaco 46 years later.
“I knew it was going to be a fast race. [Coach Justin Rinaldi] said to stick in the top five, top six position and see what happens.
“This is my last race of the season, so I’m done now,” He said.
Deng was born in a Kenyan refugee camp in 1998 after his mother fled the civil war in Sudan. The family arrived in Queensland in 2004, with Deng soon showing signifcant promise as an athlete.
Returning home to Melbourne on Wednesday, Deng began the media rounds just hours off a plane accompanied by teammate and fellow former Sudanese refugee Peter Bol, who set a personal best himself in Monaco just shy of the record.
Australians are captivated not only by these young guns’ talent, but by their incredible story – one they shrug off crediting their strong supportive families.
Both Deng and Bol now want to simply remain focused on “running fast”.