media_artricles :: 2016
Cedenio vs van Niekerk in semis
Lalonde tackles Kirani, MerrittKwame Laurence :: Trinidad Express :: 13.08.2016
Machel Cedenio was a satisfied man, after progressing to the Olympic Games men's 400 metres semifinals with a sub-45 run at the Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium, here in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last night.
The Trinidad and Tobago quartermiler stopped the clock at 44.98 seconds to top heat one and qualify second fastest overall, behind Grenada's reigning Olympic champion Kirani James, the winner of heat six in 44.93.
"Felt good," Cedenio told the Express. "It was a pretty comfortable race. My coach told me to be as relaxed as possible, try to win my heat so I could get a good lane in the semifinal. I went out there and did what I was supposed to."
Cedenio got the favourable lane draw he desired. At 7.37 this evening (TT time), the 20-year-old will run in lane five in the second of three semifinal heats. South Africa's reigning world champion, Wayde van Niekerk will do battle from lane three.
See Trinidad Express Videos Machel Cedenio
"When the semifinal comes, I'm going to give it my all, because we all know the semifinals is one of the hardest rounds. I'm just taking it step by step."
At 7.30pm, T&T's Lalonde Gordon will line up in the opening semifinal, against James, American LaShawn Merritt and Dominican Republic's Luguelin Santos. At the 2012 London Games, James, Santos and Gordon earned gold, silver and bronze, respectively. Merritt is the 2008 Olympic champion. With just two quartermilers advancing automatically to tomorrow's final, semifinal number one could be a very fast one.
In last night's opening round, Gordon battled hard in heat four to take the win in 45.24 seconds.
See Trinidad Express Videos Lalonde Gordon
"I was willing to fight for first," Gordon told the Express. "That was the goal…make it to the semis, win my heat and go to the next round comfortable. You can't have your eye on one person. Right now, everybody's feeling the same coldness and pain, so anything could happen. I wanted to run 44, fire up my body, but I'm pleased with my performance."
Gordon's efforts earned him lane three in the opening semi, alongside James, in four.
There'll be no semifinal appearance, however, for the third T&T quartermiler, Deon Lendore. Struggling with a left hamstring injury for the entire season, Lendore did not have the speed to challenge his rivals in the closing stages of heat five.
See Trinidad Express Videos Deon Lendore
"Just trying to find myself," a disappointed Lendore told the Express. "I had a long, hard season. Wanted to quit a couple times, but I tried to push it through and persevered in the end. I don't really have speed to coincide with my strength. I used 90 percent of my strength just to get to the 300, and the last 100 is always a battle."
Merritt topped heat five in 45.28 seconds, finishing ahead of Qatar's Abdalelah Haroun (45.76) and Botswana's Isaac Makwala (45.91).
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