18 Aug 2016

Fall friends: US runner pulls out of final, will root for Hamblin

10:04 am on 18 August 2016

Rio 2016 Olympics - The American runner who ran alongside New Zealander Nikki Hamblin after they tripped over each other in Rio yesterday has pulled out of tomorrow's final - but she'll be in the stands cheering for Hamblin.

Abbey D'Agostino ran more than a mile to complete her Olympic 5000m heat despite tearing her anterior cruciate knee ligament.

D'Agostino, 24, collided with New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin, 28, in the fourth lap of the race.

Hamblin was left in tears but the pair encouraged each other to continue, despite D'Agostino visibly limping.

D'Agostino managed a few steps after helping Hamblin to her feet before falling to the track, with Hamblin returning the favour and helping her rival up.

D'Agostino hobbled over the finish line, with the two embracing before both runners were put through to the final by the track officials.

The pair have been praised worldwide for encouraging and helping each other to finish the race.

But D'Agostino, who left the arena in a wheelchair, will miss the rest of the season - including Friday's final - because of the injury.

She said she would be watching the final from the stands.

"I will be with the gals and Nikki in spirit."

D'Agostino said the best part of her Olympics experience had been the community it created and what the Games symbolised.

Hamblin will compete in the 5000m final at lunchtime tomorrow.

Nikki Hamblin, right, and Abbey D'Agostino after Hamblin fell during the 5000m Round 1 race at Rio.

The fall that made world headlines. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

- BBC / RNZ

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