Sotherton fifth after morning session
Friday 15 August 2008
Kelly Sotherton found herself in fifth place after the first two events of the Olympic heptathlon today as Britain's sprinters all advanced to the second round of the eagerly-anticipated 100 metres.
Sotherton, bronze medallist in Athens four years ago, ran a personal best of 13.18 seconds in the 100m hurdles and cleared 1.83 metres in the high jump.
That left the 31-year-old 138 points adrift of early leader Hyleas Fountain, the American running a blistering 12.78secs in the hurdles and setting a new personal best with a clearance of 1.89m in the high jump.
Russia's Anna Bogdanova lies second with Ukraine's Lyudmila Blonska - who served a two-year ban after testing positive for steroids in 2003 - in third, 19 points ahead of Sotherton.
In bright sunshine at the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing, Sotherton took 0.03s off her previous best in the hurdles to collect 1,097 points and looked in good shape in the high jump with first-attempt clearances at her opening three heights.
However, she needed three attempts to clear 1.83m and never looked like getting within a centimetre of her personal best by clearing 1.86m.
Team-mate Julie Hollman ran 14.43 in the hurdles and cleared 1.77m in the high jump to lie 24th after two events.
"It was not as fast as I wanted to but that is down to a lack of hurdles races, really," the Peterborough athlete said after the hurdles. "But I have got that one out of the way. The hurdles is always a bit nerve wracking but then you can settle in for the high jump. It's an okay starting point."
In the men's 100m, star trio Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay all cruised through their heats into the second round and British trio Craig Pickering, Tyrone Edgar and Simeon Williamson advanced too.
World-record holder Bolt clocked a time of 10.20 in the opening heat and Powell eased to victory in a time of 10.16 in the second, Pickering finishing third behind Powell in 10.21.
Pickering said: "It feels good. It is my first time in the Olympic Games so it was all a bit nerve wracking, especially being in with Asafa Powell.
"I had a good finish but I would like to be up there at 20 and 30 metres as well, so hopefully I can go out and do it in the quarter-final.
"I have run 10.21, which is my second best time of the season. It's good but there is more to come."
World champion Gay, who has not run since injuring his hamstring in the 200m at the US trials at the start of July, also advanced with a time of 10.22.
Edgar was also an impressive winner of his heat in 10.13 - the fastest time of the day - to book his place in tonight's second round.
The 26-year-old said: "I got a bit nervous, it is my first Olympics. Heat winner doesn't mean nothing. And the time doesn't mean nothing. It is all about the final. I am just happy to get by.
"I think this is a good start. I'm gonna come back and give it large tonight."
Williamson managed just 10.42 in the final heat but that was enough to advance as one of the first three finishers.
In the women's 800m, Jennifer Meadows and Marilyn Okoro advanced to the semi-finals but team-mate Jemma Simpson missed out after finishing fourth in the opening heat.
Okoro was the most impressive, finishing second in her heat to former world and Olympic champion Maria Mutola in 1:59.01, while Meadows was third in her heat in 2:00.33.
Okoro said: "1.59 is much better for me, it will get faster but I don't mind. The faster the better. I took a few knocks out there but showed my robustness.
"It is about whose head is right. I need to get ready for tomorrow now and that run gives me confidence."
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