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Cole and Thomas progress to semis

3 August 2012

ATHLETICS: A mixed first session for Australia’s track and field contingent at the London Olympic Games with two of the four athletes progressing out of the heats on Day 7.

Brendan Cole and Tristan Thomas made successful Olympic debuts, advancing to the 400m hurdles semi-finals with great runs.

Meanwhile, Youcef Abdi did everything right until a stumble off the last steeple cost him, and shot putter Dale Stevensen threw well below his best and missed the final.

Cole ran a personal best of 49.24sec. for second and an automatic progression from heat 1. Running from lane 3, he beat his previous best by 0.11sec.

Cole said he had a lot of fun and was looking forward to running again when the 80,000-capacity stadium is full.

“It was great, I’m really happy,” he said said. “It’s always good to come out and run a PB especially after three years. It felt good, I felt strong, it wasn’t easy but I have faster in me.

"The track is really, really nice. It is hard, but it is still responsive so it doesn't have that concrete feeling.

"It feels so good on your foot. I think there will be some very fast times at this Olympics.

"With another round I think I can definitely run faster than that.

"About a 48.7 will make the final so if I can take another few tenths off you never know.

"But getting through the first round was my first goal."

Thomas then ran a season best of 49.13sec., to place fourth in ‘the heat of death’ to progress on times. The 26-year-old, who was one of the last to qualify for the Games after a horror run with injuries, pushed hard to the line in the fastest heat behind Javier Culson (Puerto Rico) 48.33sec., and two-time world champion Kerron Clement from the United States.

“I’m really happy,” Thomas said after working out he had qualified.

“More than anything I just wanted to do a good time and execute the race properly. And honestly I didn’t care what happened as long as I did that and to run a season best 49.1 with a couple of errors and next fastest into the semis I’m really happy.”

Steeplechaser Abdi was unlucky not to progress to his second consecutive Olympic final. With the pace not on in heat 2, a top-four finish was the only way to progress and he moved to the front with 600 metres to go and was fourth at the top of the final straight before a stumble off the final steeple cost him momentum and two places.

Abdi dropped back to sixth in 8:29.31.  The heat was won by reigning Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto from Kenya in 8:28.62.

Melbourne’s Dale Stevenson was eliminated in the preliminary round of the men's shot put.

Stevenson, 24, could manage a best throw of only 19.17m, well shy of his best of 20.63m.

He was disappointed he didn’t throw near his best, but he had stuck to his plan.

“I gave it my all and I rolled the dice, but sometimes it comes up one and sometimes six. But that’s it, I’ll live to fight another day and I’m really just a baby in this sport so I’ll be back.”

Six Australians will compete under lights at the evening session of Day 7, including medal hopes Dani Samuela, Mitchell Watt and Henry Frayne in qualifying.

EVENING SESSION

19.05 Melissa Breen, women’s 100m round one

19.10 Dani Samuela, women’s discus throw round one (group A)

19.50 Henry Frayne (group a) and Mitchell Watt (group b), men’s long jump qualifying

20.05 Ryan Gregson, men’s 1500m round one (heat 1)

21.25 Eloise Wellings, women’s 10,000m final

Andrew Reid in London
Olympics.com.au

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