Track and field finally arrived in London for the Olympics and it was all about the Aussie men on for the first morning of Day One.
The first green and gold representation on the track was in the 400mH with Tristan Thomas (Tas) and Brendan Cole (ACT) getting the Games off to a great start. Cole was up in the first heat and comfortably progressed after finishing in second place in a personal best of 49.24.
Cole said he had a lot of fun and was looking forward to running again when the 80,000-capacity stadium is full.
Cole said: “It was great, I’m really happy."
“It’s always good to come out and run a PB especially after three years. It felt good, I felt strong, it wasn’t easy but I have faster in me. The track is really, really nice. It is hard, but it is still responsive so it doesn't have that concrete feeling.
"It feels so good on your foot. I think there will be some very fast times at this Olympics. With another round I think I can definitely run faster than that. About a 48.7 will make the final so if I can take another few tenths off you never know but getting through the first round was my first goal."
Thomas added: “I’m really happy."
“More than anything I just wanted to do a good time and execute the race properly. And honestly I didn’t care what happened as long as I did that and to run a season best 49.1 with a couple of errors and next fastest into the semis I’m really happy.”
With the first three athletes receiving automatic qualification through to the semi finals, Thomas had to wait to learn his fate after finishing fourth in a loaded heat which included world number one Javier Culson (CUB) and former world champion Kerron Clement (USA). Still, the speed of the field meant Thomas crossed the line in 49.13, his fastest time in three years, which was enough to secure a lane in the semi finals as a fastest loser.
In the field Dale Stevenson (Vic) opened with 18.78m in shot put qualifying and followed that up with 19.17m, which was to be his best throw and give him a 26th place finish. Reese Hoffa (USA) topped qualifying with 21.36m.
Finally Youcef Abdi (NSW), a finalist in Beijing four years ago, was unlucky not to progress in the 3000mSC after catching the final hurdle. Abdi finished sixth in heat two in 8:29.81.
Tonight will see former world champion Dani Samuels (NSW) looking for qualification in the discus, in group A, as well as world indoor silver medalist Henry Frayne (Qld) and world silver medalist Mitchell Watt (Qld) in the long jump qualification.
On the track Melissa Breen (ACT) is due in round one of the women’s 100m and Eloise Wellings (NSW) will compete in the first track final of the London Olympics, the 10,000m. Ryan Gregson (NSW) will go in the 1500m heats.
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