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Olympics 2008 - Day 2 Evening Session Report

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Greg Rutherford Olympics 2008
Rutherford leaps into long jump final, with a best jump of 8.16m

16th August 2008

  

During Saturday evening’s athletics programme, Kelly Sotherton finished fifth in the heptathlon, Greg Rutherford qualified for the long jump final with an impressive first round, whilst Jeanette Kwakye set a PB over the 100m to make Sunday’s semi final stage.

 

However Sotherton could not emulate her bronze medal winning performance from the Athens 2004 Games, and finished the heptathlon in fifth position.

 

Sotherton had a nervous start to the evening in the javelin, when her first throw was adjudged a foul, but came back strongly to give her best performance for some time, with 37.66m. The 622 points awarded took her total to 5513.

 

Julie Hollman also had a good javelin competition, throwing 39.08m to secure a further 650 points for a total of 3908.

 

Into the 800m and Sotherton faced an all-but-impossible task to impact on the medals with her 214 point deficit on bronze medal position, but she set out with intent and her run of 2.07.34 was a significant PB, giving her a total of 6517 points.

 

“I did three PBs and in the end I came fifth,” said Sotherton.

 

“If I had won here at the Olympics I probably would have quit, but I’m not satisfied.

 

“I will do another year – I want to go on and at least win the World Championships.”

 

Ironically, Sotherton exceeded the points total she amassed in winning bronze at last year’s world championships – demonstrating the quality that gold medallist Natalia Dobrynska, from Ukraine, brought to the Olympic competition.

 

Hollman finished 32nd with a total of 5729 – her 800m in 2.22.54 bringing her competition to a close.

 

Marilyn Okoro was distraught to miss out on a place in the final, after a tough round which saw her competing against a rejuvenated Maria Mutola, from Mozambique, and eventual winner Svetlana Klyuka, from Russia.  

 

Okoro was out-run on the home straight, fading to 1.59.53 and sixth position, beyond the reach of a fastest loser place.

 

Jenny Meadows didn’t fare any better in her semi, as Kenyan sensation Pamela Jelimo ran away with the heat in 1.57.31. Meadows was left to battle it out, also taking sixth in a time of 1.59.43.

 

 “To be honest I should have made the final,” said Okoro. “I ran it horribly tactically. I’m not going to say I’m happy, but I can definitely learn from it and the season’s not over.

 

“I’m gutted I didn’t make it but everyone wants it and everyone’s talented.”

 

Meadows was honest in appraising her chances, saying: “I didn’t necessarily think I was going to get to the final – it was one of those where if I ran the race of my life it was possible.

 

“I thought if I didn’t make it I would run a massive PB which I am in shape to do.”

 

Kenya’s Janeth Jepkosgei was the fastest of the semi-finalists, with her time of 1.57.28 placing her ahead of her fellow countrywoman Jelimo.

 

Meanwhile, Jeanette Kwakye sealed her progression to the semi final of the women’s 100m with a PB of 11.18 to take third in her second round heat.

 

In a heat won by Jamaican Shelly Ann Fraser in 11.06, indoor specialist Kwakye came through strongly to qualify automatically.

 

“I’ve worked all year for this,” said a delighted Kwakye. “I knew I would have to run PBs in all the rounds to progress. It’s brilliant but I had a tough year coming out of the indoor season.”

 

Montell Douglas also went in the second round of the 100m, but finished fourth in her race, her time of 11.38 just 18th fastest – two places from reaching the semi-finals.

 

“I have learnt a heck of a lot,” she said. “About preparation, my mind and about being an athlete here,” she said.

 

Another athlete receiving a lesson was Team GB’s only remaining competitor in the 100m. Tyrone Edgar lined up in the lane alongside Jamaican world record holder Usain Bolt.

 

Edgar finished seventh in 10.18 in a semi final won by Bolt jogging his way to a phenomenal 9.85 time.

 

It meant Edgar’s involvement in the final would be as a spectator and he later watched as Bolt show-boated his way to a world record of 9.69.

 

“I believed I could do it. If you don’t believe then why would you come here,” he said. “It was a great lane draw between two fast guys – there’s nothing better, you just have to feed off them.

 

“I still believe in myself. I need to keep working on executing, train harder and focus on the World Championships in Berlin next year."

 

“I don’t want to be the best in Great Britain, I want to be the best in the world.”

 

Another British athlete with designs on being the best in the world was European Silver medallist Greg Rutherford, who continued to demonstrate his calibre with automatic qualification in the men’s long jump.

 

The Milton Keynes athlete leapt 8.16m in his first attempt to secure his place in the final taking place on Monday (August 18) in third place from the qualifiers.

 

“I’m very pleased,” he said. “It was a terrible jump, it felt absolutely awful, but it shows there is a lot more there.

 

“I’ve just jumped 8.16m in my first round – I’ve never done that before.”

 

Following an intensive rehab period following injury, world indoor silver medallist Chris Tomlinson also took his mark for his qualification pool.

 

The Athens Olympic Games fourth placer struggled to make inroads and with a best of 7.70m left the competition at the qualifying stage.

 

“I put myself on the line physically but it wasn’t there today, at least I tried,” he said. “It’s a devastating blow, the Olympics was a dream.”

 

Top of the qualifiers for Monday was Greek leaper Louis Tsatoumas, with 8.27m.

 

The Olympic Games athletics programme continues on Sunday morning at 7.30am local time, as Paula Radcliffe, Liz Yelling and Mara Yamauchi compete in the women’s marathon.

 

For Results and Startlist click here