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Local Olympians: SCV's Felix, Demus both advance in Monday sprints

Posted: August 6, 2012 4:57 p.m.
Updated: August 6, 2012 4:57 p.m.

LONDON (AP) — Both women with local ties advanced in their respective sprints on Monday in Olympic Stadium.

Santa Clarita Valley resident Allyson Felix moved to the semifinals as heat winner in her favorite event, the 200-meter with a time of 22.71 seconds.

It now sets up another high-powered U.S.-Jamaica clash on Tuesday.

Felix’s opponent, Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown is going for her third straight 200 Olympic gold, but she limped into the semis with a third-place finish in her heat on Monday night.

Also moving on in her event was Lashinda Demus.

The College of the Canyons volunteer assistant track coach won her semifinal heat with the day’s fastest time of 54.08 in the 400 hurdles.

That puts Demus in her first Olympic final on Wednesday.

In her only previous Olympic appearance in 2004, Demus fell short in the semifinals of the same event.

As for the 200-meter, the clash for golden sprint double is still on after both 100-meter Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and 400 gold-medalist Sanya Richards-Ross also advanced to the 200 semis.

Running with red leggings and arms covered, Richards-Ross had the top qualifying time with 22.48 seconds.

Richards-Ross said she was still on a high after winning her favored 400 on Sunday evening.

“I couldn’t get to sleep. I was so excited,” Richards-Ross said. “I am going to give my best. The 200 is a fun event, so we will see what I have got.”

Campbell-Brown was not all that worried about her slow showing.

“The objective is always to advance to the next round,” she said. “The aim is to get to the final and run as best as I can there.”

In the shot put, 2008 Olympic champion and reigning world outdoor and indoor and Commonwealth champion Valerie Adams failed to defend her title, as Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus ended her long winning streak. The 31-year-old Ostapchuk, world champion in 2005, had a mark of 21.36 meters, while Adams settled for silver with 20.70.

It was a bad day for defending champions, especially when 50K race walk champion Alex Schwazer was thrown out of the game after he failed a doping control in Italy.

CONI President Gianni Petrucci said Schwazer had admitted doping on what was a “bitter day” for Italian sports.

World champion Sally Pearson has the world’s fastest female hurdlers on her tail and the weight of a country’s expectations on her shoulders at the Olympics.

Australia is having its worst Olympics in decades, but Pearson showed Monday that she’s desperate to come to the rescue.

Pearson won her opening race in the 100-meter hurdles in 12.57 seconds, the fastest time ever in a heat at the Olympics. She cleared every obstacle to advance but Jamaica’s Brigette Foster-Hylton, one of her biggest threats, hit one so hard she is out of the games.

She was supposed to add more medals for Jamaica’s sprint juggernaut, but despite her experience at 37 she committed a basic error in her heat.

Going with the pace in the final heat, her trailing foot slammed into hurdle five of 10, and as well as she tried to regain momentum, she knew she was out of the games when she crossed the line.

She threw herself to the ground and screamed loudly, brushed aside Jones when she came over to console her and then slammed herself into the ground again.

American LoLo Jones has the second-quickest time in 12.68 and defending Olympic champion Dawn Harper also advanced.

Kenya’s 800-meter world champion and record holder David Rudisha also showed the way forward, leading from start to easily win his heat later Monday. His rival, Abubaker Kaki of Sudan, had the top time in qualifying of 1 minute 45.51.

In the women’s 1,500, world indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia failed to qualify when she finished 10th in her heat, clutching her left hamstring after falling to the ground beyond the line. The younger sister of 10,000 gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba was taken off in a wheelchair.

World champion Jenny Simpson of the United States also struggled, having to come up with a mighty finishing effort to squeeze into the top-six in her heat.


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