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Olympics 2008 - Day 3 Evening Session Report

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Mason, Pasons and Bernard Olympics 2008
3 GB High Jumpers advance to final

17th August 2008

 

Jeanette Kwakye became the first British woman to make an Olympic 100m final for 24 years, whilst Andy Baddeley and Christine Ohuruogu made their respective finals on Sunday night at the Bird’s Nest. It was also a case of Field of Dreams, as all three of Team GB’s high jumpers progress to Tuesday’s final.

 

In women’s 100m final. Kwakye did all that was possible of her in finishing sixth  – she set a lifetime best of 11.14 – a great achievement considering her PB ranked lowest of the quality field.

 

There was a hint of things to come from the semi final earlier on  – her 11.19 taking third and making sure the World Indoor silver medallist got her money’s worth from her Beijing experience.

 

And so it was, she played her part, in a final won by Jamaica’s Shelly Ann Fraser in 10.78.

 

“I learned I need more of this kind of experience – you can’t buy it in the shops,” said Kwakye

 

“I’m an east London girl, the next four years are really important to me – to make sure I build on that, stay fit, healthy and competitive. On the way to training I drive past the Olympic site everyday and I say to myself, I’m coming, I’m coming, I’ll be there soon!”

 

Before the 100m final, supporters were treated to the sight of Andy Baddeley qualifying for the final of the 1500m.

 

Baddeley – who said he would be treating the semi as a final - fulfilled that promise and in a heavily weighted semi, was third in 3.37.47. The qualifying for Tuesday’s final was lead by Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop with 3.37.04.

 

Despite looking boxed in for much of the final 600m, the Harrow man moved out of danger at 300m and negotiated his way into the top three with a strong final 50m alongside Frenchman Mehdi Baala.

 

Baddeley reflected on another smooth qualification:

 

“I was fairly confident I could hold those guys off, but that heat was loaded,” he said.

“They are some of the best guys in the world. ‘Run hard to the line’ was my instruction!”

 

In the 400m, Team GB’s medal hopes were kept alive by Christine Ohuruogu, who will go in Tuesday’s final following her semi final win. Ohuruogu looked every inch the world champion as once again she powered through the final 70m to take the win, easing up into an impressive 50.14 time.

 

Next up was Lee McConnell who could not make inroads against a strong semi final line-up won by Gold medal favourite Sanya Richards in 49.90 – McConnell’s 52.11 just taking sixth.

 

It was then time for Nicola Sanders to attempt to make it a Team GB double for the final. But the World Silver medallist struggled with a tough outside lane drawer and finished fourth on the run in despite a season’s best of 50.71.

 

“I gave it all I had. I just didn’t have enough at the end. I don’t think lane nine helped – I didn’t have anyone to have a shot at,” she said.

 

“Yesterday if I’m honest I felt a bit flat but today I did a few strides in warm up and felt wicked, I thought I had a much better time in me than that.”

 

Earlier in the evening Sarah Claxton secured her place in the semi final of the women’s 100m hurdles finishing third in her heat in 12.97. Josephine Onyia of Spain was fastest in 12.68.

 

Yet straight after she was analysing improvement to be made for the semi finals:

 

“That race was a bit messy,” she admitted. “I hit two of the hurdles and I wasn’t picking it up enough.

 

“In Athens I ran 13.18 and I didn’t get through, but I’ve really improved since then.

I was keen to get this round out of the way and then I can let rip in the semi finals.”

 

Also going over the sticks, albeit for one lap was Tasha Danvers After a season of injury woe she showed she is in form with first position in her heat in 55.19.

 

Danvers started steadily but came through the field strongly. Her win saw her swiftly and safely through to Monday’s semi finals as fourth fastest from the heats.

 

“I’m happy because it’s been horrendous this season. First of all I’m thankful just to be on the team,” she admitted.

 

“But it’s been very scary, because when you’ve had a season like I’ve had with injury, you don’t know what you are going to do. I could do anything from 59 seconds to 54 seconds.”

 

Qualifying was led by Jamaican Melaine Walker with 54.46.

 

Finally, in the men’s high jump Team GB can look forward to having three competitors in Tuesday’s final.

 

Germaine Mason led the way with first time clearances over 2.15, 2.20, 2.25 and 2.29m to clinch his place, whilst in the other pool, Martyn Bernard put together a similar series with only a second time clearance on 2.29m soiling his near perfect card.

 

Despite a nervous wait for Tom Parsons whose best performance was 2.25m, he made it through as twelfth best on the night.

 

Team GB’s athletics interest continues on Monday 18 August with round one of the men’s 400m.

 

For Results and Startlists click here