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Olympics 2008 - Day 2 Morning Session Report

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Christine Ohurougu in action in the the 400m heats

16th August 2008


In the second morning of athletics at the Bird’s Nest Stadium, Team GB were cheered by qualifiers in the 100m and 400m as the women opened their sprint accounts.


World Indoor 60m silver medallist Jeanette Kwakye went in the first heat of the 100m against USA’s Torri Edwards, but eased to 11.30 in second place to qualify for tonight’s second round.


“That was the easiest fast run I’ve ever done,” she smiled.


She was followed through to the next round by team-mate and GB record holder Montell Douglas, who looked equally as impressive in powering to second place in her heat in 11.36.


“I didn’t look around,” she said referring to the stadium – “I didn’t want to take it all in – in the past I have. I’m glad the first round is done.”


Team mate Laura Turner however was fourth in her heat in 11.65 and did not progress to the next round. Fastest qualifier from round one was Nigerian Oludamola Osayomi who powered to 11.13.


Perhaps inspired by their 100m team-mates, and in one of the most anticipated events of the track and field programme, the 400m representatives did not disappoint.


First up was Lee McConnell – qualifying automatically in 51.87 for third place in her heat.


She was quickly followed by reigning World Champion Christine Ohuruogu who coasted round 300m, before racing the final 100m to take victory in 51.00.


Nicola Sanders completed the trio of qualifications leading for most of her race and easing up into second in 51.81.


Sanders summarised the feeling of the athletes, eager to get going:


“I had some good training in Macau. I’m feeling good and I’m just glad to get things underway,” she said.


All three progress to Sunday’s (17 August) semi finals. Gold medal favourite Sanya Richards led qualifying with 50.54.


On day two of the heptathlon, Kelly Sotherton tried to shake off the dissatisfaction she felt at her first day’s performance – but her usually strong long jump wasn’t able to provide her with a much needed confidence boost.


With 6.33m to place ninth, she went into the evening’s final events in fifth place on 4891 points. Meanwhile Julie Hollman took 15th with 6.13m to climb to 29th place on 4290.


Andrew Lemoncello took to the track in the 3000m steeplechase, and struggled to match the pace of the heat.


When USA ‘chaser Anthony Famiglietti established a huge gap on the main group and the pace wound up in an attempt to pull him back, the Fife man suffered as a result.


Lemoncello became detached, and finished adrift in ninth place with 8.36.06, not enough to qualify for Monday’s final.


“I don’t know what went wrong,” he said.


“I thought I’d pick up as I went on but I felt really drained – my strong point is coming through but I just didn’t have it today – gutted.”


Finally, Kate Dennison went in the pole vault qualifying. Despite a strong showing with 4.40m, she was short of the mark needed to see her through to the final. Russian World record holder Yelena Isinbayeva lead the way with 4.60m.


“Give me another year, and I think I’ll be up there with the girls,” she promised

“A 4.40m was sixth in Athens, so it shows how pole vault has come on so much in the last few years.”


After 10,000m finalist Kate Reed's comments to BBC Sport yesterday, a BOA spokesperson offered the following statement;


"The athlete has been on and off running for the last few weeks and has had immense medical support at the BOA Holding Camp in Macau and here in Beijing, including scans, manipulations and acupuncture. She was given a painkilling injection and asked to run 2000m at a reasonable pace, as agreed with her coach yesterday. This was to confirm she could actually perform in the race and if the painkilling injection worked.”


For results and startlist click here