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Sorrillo in 200 semis

Kwame Laurence :: Trinidad Express :: 16.08.2016

Already disappointed about not progressing in the men's 100 metres event at the 2016 Olympic Games, here in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Rondel Sorrillo was very discouraged by the critical public response that followed. Yesterday, at the Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium, the 30-year-old sprinter's spirits were lifted by a solid showing that saw him through to today's 200m semis.

Sorrillo, Richard "Torpedo" Thompson and Keston Bledman all exited the shorter sprint in Saturday's opening round. Sorrillo was chided on social media for not pushing all the way to the finish line in his heat.

"It was discouraging for me," Sorrillo told the Express. "It took me at least a day and a half to recover. As athletes going into races, sometimes you misjudge certain things and you make mistakes, but part of being a champion is coming back from that. I have a supportive group of people behind me that I'd like to commend for picking up my spirits, to be able to come out here and execute the way I did."

Running in lane seven in the 10th and final 200m heat, Sorrillo negotiated the turn well. He then battled hard on the straight to finish third in 20.27 seconds. He just missed out on the second automatic qualifying berth up for grabs, Great Britain's Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake claiming the runner-up spot in 20.24, behind Andre de Grasse. The Canadian 100m bronze medallist won the heat in 20.09 to lead all qualifiers into today's semis. Sorrillo was among the four sprinters who advanced on time.

"I felt good about the race, overall. I never ran out of those outside lanes before, so it was pretty new to me. I had a talk with my coach last night. I was nervous, I couldn't sleep. But he assured me, you've been training, you could run the times you set out to run. Just run the first 150 (metres) like you mean it, and then try to hold on. If you have to do extra, do extra to qualify. But don't let what happened in the 100 happen again."

At nine o'clock tonight (TT time), the 2016 T&T half-lap champion faces the starter in semi-final number one, and will run in lane one. The race also includes American LaShawn Merritt and Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade. Just the top two finishers in each semi will progress automatically to tomorrow's final.

"I pretty much need to run a PR (personal record) to get into that final," Sorrillo opined. "But it's not impossible. I think I could do it."

Sorrillo's personal best is 20.16 seconds, the clocking he produced to capture the T&T 200m title for the third time, back in 2011.

Yesterday, Kyle Greaux ran his first race since hurting his right hamstring in the National Championship 200m final, in June.

"Running the turn here," Greaux told the Express, "I felt it on the opposite leg, the left hamstring. I knew I could rely on my strength to bring me home. But unfortunately, that wasn't enough, so I have to deal with the consequences."

Greaux could only manage fourth spot in heat 10, his 20.61 seconds clocking unable to earn the T&T sprinter a lane in the men's 200m semis. Jamaican megastar Usain Bolt won the race in 20.28.

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BOUNCING BACK - Sorrillo in 200 semis
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GREAUX GETS A TASTE OF BOLT: From left, Trinidad and Tobago's Kyle Greaux, Norway's Jaysuma Saidy Ndure, Jamaica's Usain Bolt and Belgium's Jonathan Borlee compete in a men's 200-metre heat at the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, yesterday. Greaux finished fourth and faield to advance to the semi-finals. Photo: AP

Kwame Laurence Rio Olympics 2016

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