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Olympics 2008 - Day 4 Morning Session Report

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Andrew Steele Olympics 2008
Steele qualifies in impressive style for the later stages of the 400m

18th August 2008


It was an upbeat Monday morning for Team GB at the Bird's Nest as Phillips Idowu nailed automatic qualification for the triple jump final and Andrew Steele and Martyn Rooney motored through the 400m rounds.
Philips Idowu kept his bid for triple jump gold on perfect track with instantaneous qualification to Thursday's final - his almost casual 17.44m allowing him an early bath.
He was then followed by Larry Achike, who jumped a second round 17.18m to also qualify automatically. It would not be a hat-trick of GB triple jumpers however - Nathan Douglas failing to progress with a best mark of 16.72m
Douglas, who has had a year of battling with injury, was disappointed with his turn in Beijing:
"It's been very very hard - a struggle with injury - but it goes to show I wasn't up to scratch," he admitted.
"I'm not one of those people who are just happy to be here. I've been here before and now I want to go to the next level."
At the exact same moment that Philips Idowu was powering his way down the triple jump runway, team mate Christian Malcolm - the first of the British 200m representatives was also qualifying for this evening's second round with a comfortable second place in his heat in 20.42.
Minutes later a rejuvenated Marlon Devonish followed him through with first place in his heat in 20.49 - the Coventry man looking fully recovered from the illness that forced his withdrawal from the UK Championships.
It was two from two for the Team GB 200m effort, qualifying second and fourth fastest from the heats - the only down point being the DNS against young sprinter Alex Nelson who suffered a hamstring pull in his final preparations and withdrew from the field this morning.
Earlier, Rooney had been the first to deliver the goods in his heat of the 400m.
The Croydon lad who has been in major PB form this summer, worked hard on the back straight to make sure he was in contention, then on the home straight took to the front before easing down and still winning in 45.00.
But minutes later Trafford's Andrew Steele stepped onto the track, and promptly upstaged his team mate - clocking a life time best of 44.94 in first place -  his first time under the 45 second mark and more than a third of a second faster than his previous best of 45.31.
Steele was pleased, but unsurprised with his run:
"I'm happy with the time, but I'm not here for time, positions are far more important," he said.
"I was setting PBs in training in Macau so I knew I just had to come here and do the job."
It meant the British pair progressed through to Tuesday evening's semi final as fifth and seventh fastest overall with qualifying led by Chris Brown of the Bahamas in 44.79. Gold medal favourite American Jeremy Wariner literally jogged round to win his heat in 45.23.
In the 110m hurdles, Andy Turner had to keep focused, running in the same heat as World Record holding Dayron Robles. The Sale Harrier held his form well to take second place in 13.56 behind the Cuban, in what might have been a distracting scenario.
"I've raced with him a few times, so you know he's going to come out and run quick," he said.
"But I just have to take care of my own business and I'm happy to have qualified."
Allan Scott was set for similar in his heat with Olympic Champion Liu Xiang also lining up. However following a false start, Xiang - who had looked crocked getting into the blocks the first time round decided his ongoing hamstring injury would not withstand another start and limped out the competition.
Scott followed Turner through finishing third in 13.56 in an arena where much of the spectators were still in shock at the departure of their hero. Scott was oblivious to the drama:
"I didn't even realise what had happened," he said. "I just assumed he was one of the others who had gone through."
"When I saw the results I wondered where he had gone, but then I've got ten flights of hurdles to worry about before I think about anything else!"
American David Oliver led the way to the next round - his 13.30 the fastest from the six heats
Finally, Birchfield Harrier Zoe Derham took to the field for the women's hammer qualifying, but had a mighty task if she was to qualify for Wednesday night's final.
With 64.74m the best of her three attempts, Gloucester based Derham finished her pool in 19th place - not enough to progress, with Athens silver medallist Yipsi Moreno of Cuba leading the qualification stage with 73.92.


For Results and Startlists click here