New Zealand athlete Nikki Hamblin and the American runner she tangled with in the heats of the 5000m have received a fair play award for the way they showed concern for each other as their hopes of reaching the final disappeared from their grasp.

Hamblin tripped in their heat, bringing down Abbey D'Agostino but rather than react angrily, the 24-year-old American reached out to the distraught Kiwi to urge her to get up and finish the race. Hamblin did so, but soon became aware that D'Agostino had suffered and injury in the tumble and collapsed on the track.

The 28-year-old went back to check on her health before being told to continue her race.

Both finished the race and Hamblin was at the finishing line to embrace D'Agostino who, it later transpired, had run the last 1800m of the race with a torn anterior ligament in her right knee.

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"I am so grateful for Abbey for doing that for me - that girl is the Olympic spirit right there.

"She ran four and half laps barely being able to run - I'm so impressed and inspired that she did that," said Hamblin.

Both were granted places in the final, but only Hamblin, still suffering the effects of the fall, raced in it, finishing last.

The International Fair Play Committee awarded the pair the Rio 2016 Fair Play Award which honoured remarkable acts living up to its ideals.