Olympics are won and lost on fine margins and Daniel Rowden was left devastated after missing out on a chance at a medal shot by just five-hundredths of a second. 

The middle-distance runner from Buckhurst Hill was at his first Olympic Games in Tokyo and safely made it through his heats to contest the 800m semi-finals on Sunday evening. 

Rowden tried to take the inside line as he rounded the bend into the home straight but soon found himself boxed in and ended up crossing the line in fifth, in a time of 1:44.35.

Only the top two qualified automatically for the final but the two fastest losers from the three semi-finals also progressed and both of those came from Rowden’s heat – meaning the 0.05s he finished behind Spain’s Adrian Ben in fourth proved costly.

And the Essex athlete acknowledged that he got his tactics wrong, as he reflected on coming so near but yet so far from a spot in the showpiece.
“It’s very disappointing,” he said. “I don't even feel that tired. I went for a gap coming into the home straight and the gap closed as soon as I went through it.  

“I lost my stride and that was it. I felt like I was finishing quick and there was a bit of a gap as I was coming through. In 800m running, if there's no space, it means you've put yourself in the wrong position.  

“It's incredibly disappointing because I knew what my potential was, I knew that I had potential to get a medal and it's disappointing that I don't get to make that a reality.  

“At the same time, I'm so grateful to British Athletics, especially the medical team. I'm so grateful to the National Lottery and their help.

“I'm so grateful to my friends – the fact I've made sacrifices this year in terms of seeing them. I'm grateful to my girlfriend, grateful to my parents.”

Thanks to National Lottery funding our Olympians and Paralympians have been able to train full time and benefit from world class facilities, technology, coaching and support teams. This has never been more important in getting them to the start line after a turbulent year. 

UK Athletics submitted an appeal on Rowden’s behalf, saying he had been impeded, but that was rejected. 

It means his first Olympics are over but he still has some ambitions for the rest of the summer and has been inspired to make sure he’s ready to go for Paris 2024. 

“I'll do some races, do some Diamond Leagues and try and finish off the season with a PB,” added Rowden. 

“This experience has given me belief that I can go on and do great things.”

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £36 million each week for good causes including grassroots and elite sport. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has on sport at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthletes #MakeAmazingHappen