Joseph Deng, a South Sudanese Australian has created history by breaking the long-standing Australian 800m record with a sensational 1.44.21 at the Herculis Diamond League meet in Monaco. His performance, which was also a new Oceania record, took 0.19s off the record which has stood for nearly 50 years, first set by Ralph Doubell in 1968 at the Mexico City Olympic Games and then equaled by Alex Rowe in Monaco in 2014.
“It’s a great feeling. My target coming into the race wasn’t the record, it was just to run fast.” said Deng.
“I knew it was going to be a fast race. Justin (coach) 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. I’m back in Australia next week. ”
At just 20 years of age, Deng, coached by Justin Rinaldi, has had a stellar season and the performance was his fourth time under 1.45 this year, the most ever by an Australian. In fact, the young Victorian-based athlete has run all those times in just 47 days.
Deng and training partner Peter Bol had made it known that the record was in their sights this season and have had several attempts this season with Bol coming closest before today’s race when he was 0.16s off the mark in Stockholm back in June.