American leads four athletes, including Ireland’s Thomas Barr, to sub-48 seconds, while both GB sprint relay teams advance and Morgan Lake equals UK junior record to make high jump final
USA’s Kerron Clement went one better than his Olympic silver in Beijing eight years ago, winning the 400m hurdles title in 47.73 in Rio on Thursday.
Leading the top four athletes, including Ireland’s Thomas Barr in fourth, to sub-48 seconds, the American adds to his two individual world gold medals claimed in 2007 and 2009.
“It means so much,” said the winner. “I was focused and my mind was set. I showed determination and a will to win and this is something I wanted with all my heart.”
Four athletes broke their respective national records, including Kenya’s Boniface Mucheru Tumuti with 47.78 for silver and Turkey’s Yasmani Copello with 47.92 for bronze.
Just missing out on a medal was Barr, who hugely impressed in Rio. After taking his Irish record from 48.65 to 48.39 to win his semi-final, the 24-year-old further improved to 47.97 for fourth in the final ahead of Jamaica’s Annsert Whyte with a 48.07 PB and Rasmus Magi with an Estonian record 48.40. Puerto Rican hurdler Javier Culson, the 2012 bronze medallist, had been disqualified for a false start.
Over in high jump qualifying, Morgan Lake progressed to the final on her Olympic debut, the 19-year-old heptathlete equalling her PB and UK junior record of 1.94m to automatically qualify.
The double 2014 world junior champion cleared 1.80m, 1.85m and 1.89m on her first attempts before requiring all three goes to make it over 1.92m and 1.94m to join 14 other athletes in the final.
“I was nervous,” admitted the teenager as she revealed her feelings ahead of her final attempt at 1.94m. “I knew I could do it and I was getting frustrated with myself.
“I know I’m in good form and training has been going really well but you’ve still got the added pressure of getting to the Olympic final in my head so a lot of emotions but happy to have made it.”
Spain’s Ruth Beitia, Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic and Americans Chaunte Lowe, Inika McPherson and 18-year-old Vashti Cunningham are among those to join the Briton in the final.
Four years ago in London the USA women’s 4x100m relay team ran a 40.82 world record to get gold. Their chance to go for similar success in Rio hangs in the balance after Allyson Felix was knocked by another athlete on her approach to handing the baton to English Gardner. USA, Brazil and Kazakhstan were all listed as disqualified on the results for heat two but after an appeal the US quartet of Tianna Bartoletta, Felix, Gardner and Morolake Akinosun will re-run during Thursday’s evening session in an attempt to qualify for the final on time. China’s 42.70 is what they need to beat.
That race was won by Germany in 42.18 from Nigeria’s 42.55.
In the first heat GB’s female quartet of Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita combined to clock 41.93 and qualify for Friday’s final behind Jamaica’s Simone Facey, Sashalee Forbes, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s 41.93. There will be no European gold medal-winning Netherlands team in the final as a botched handover meant the team including world 200m champion Dafne Schippers could only clock 42.88 for sixth.
A GB men’s team will also be in sprint relay final action as Richard Kilty, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, James Ellington and Chijindu Ujah ran 38.06 for fourth in heat two to make it through as a fastest loser. That race was won by Japan in an area record 37.68 ahead of Jamaica’s Jevaughn Minzie, Asafa Powell, Nickel Ashmeade and Kemar Bailey-Cole with 37.94. The time by Japan improved on the Asian record 37.82 which had just been set in the first heat by China as the team finished behind USA with 37.65.
Men’s shot put qualifying offered great depth as six athletes achieved the automatic qualifying mark of 20.65m, while 20.40m wasn’t enough to make the final. Defending champion Tomasz Majewski made it through with 20.56m and he’ll be joined in going for gold by 2012 silver medallist David Storl and the top six Ryan Crouser, Tomas Walsh, Jacko Gill, Konrad Bukowiecki, Joe Kovacs and Brazil’s Darlan Romani, who threw a national record 20.94m.
Ashton Eaton kept his lead in the decathlon with three events remaining. A time of 13.80 by the world record-holder in the 110m hurdles helped Canada’s Damian Warner, who ran 13.58 to win the third heat ahead of Eaton, to close the gap.
Eaton led with 5621 points from Warner’s 5518 and Frenchman Kevin Mayer’s 5407 after six events.
The American threw a best of 45.49m in the discus so with the pole vault, javelin and 1500m to go he is top with 6398 points ahead of Warner with 6283 and Mayer with 6211.