Series08 Jun 2015

Personal bests – Nijel Amos


Nijel Amos ahead of the 2014 World Athletics Gala in Monaco (© IAAF / Philippe Fitte)

Botswana’s Nijel Amos, the Olympic silver medallist and the joint third-fastest 800m runner of all time, got his first win of 2015 over two laps of the track at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham on Sunday.

Here he offers a glimpse into his world by talking about some the best things in his life and career.

My best friend in athletics

That’s a tough question. My flatmate, the South African 1500m runner Jerry Motsau, is a good friend and so too is Isaac Makwala, the Botswanan 400m sprinter. We always share a room together on the IAAF Diamond League circuit and at major championships.

My best achievement in athletics

Breaking the world junior record at the London Olympics. When I came into the sport of athletics it was not all about medals to me, it was about how fast I could run. So to improve from 1:47 to 1:41 in one season was amazing. I also managed to leap from a previous PB of 1:43.11 to 1:41.73 in one race.

The best piece of advice

That came from Taoufik Makhloufi, the Olympic 1500m champion. He told me no one will give you anything for free in this world except your mother and father. So each day wake up and know you have to go out and work hard for what you want. 

My greatest disappointment

It was missing the 2013 World Championships through injury. I suffered a grade three tear in the quad in my right leg in April of that year. It was hard watching the World Championships and seeing guys winning medals in 1:43. I could have got that gold.

My best rival

David Rudisha, because he motivates me in every way, not only from a competitive point of view but the way he conducts himself. He is a great guy. You have to push so hard to beat him. When I beat him for the first time at the Prefontaine Classic it was like, wow!

The best athlete I've ever seen

Frankie Fredericks. He is someone I have got to know personally. I have seen him come to my country to motivate us to run. I like the fact that he wants to share his experiences. Watching videos of his career, he was so consistent at winning medals. He never missed the podium. It would be silver, silver, gold, silver. 

My best piece of kit

My London Olympic kit, because it was the best material and had a cool design.

The best venue

I have fond memories of Mannheim in Germany because that is where I had my breakthrough, lowering my personal best from 1:46:21 to 1:43:11 to set a national record

My best achievement outside of athletics

Managing to provide shelter for my family and setting up a family business.

My greatest regret

Pushing my body too hard and picking up an injury in April 2013 that ruled me out of the World Championships.

Steve Landells for the IAAF