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You are in: sports > Athletics > News

Women's 400m off the starting blocks

26July2002

No upsets as first cut is decided.

Catherine Murphy

Catherine Murphy qualified in style

Jamaica's Ronetta Smith (52.92) warmed up with a convincing win in the first heat of the women's 400m opening round. Doris Jacob (54.34) of Nigeria, England's Helen Karagounis (54.47) and Scotland's Lee McConnell (55.62) also qualified.

The second heat was far more tightly contested with Jamaica's Allison Beckford (52.29) edging out Christine Amertil (52.64) of the Bahamas and Aliann Pompey (52.88) of Guyana. Damayanthi Darsha (53.99) of Sri Lanka also qualified.

Wales' Catherine Murphy (53.09) won the third heat. The other qualifiers were Clementine Bewoulda (53.38) of Cameroon, New Zealand's Jane Arnott (54.14) and Nigeria's Hajarat Yusuf (55.09).

Catherine Murphy explained her strategy: The plan was to go hard over the first 200m and then just coast home and I think thats what I did. The first round is always the hardest as you never quite know whats going to happen. Im pleased to get it over and done with.

The fourth heat was won by Jamaica's Sandie Richards (53.29). England's Helen Frost (53.78), Canada's Lamide Oyewumi (54.21) and Niekiesha Charles (54.80) from Trinidad and Tobago also qualified.

Sandie Richards said afterwards: It was okay. The first round is always jittery but Im glad I came out of it. Ive been struggling with injury, so it was good.

Mireille Nguimgo (53.14) of Cameroon won the final heat. Heide Seyerling (54.23) of South Africa, Kudirat Akhigbe (54.33) of Nigeria and Canada's Antoine-Watkins (53.44) also qualified.

Heide Seyerling was satisfied with her performance: It wasnt too bad. It was nice and easy. It was only the first run. But tomorrow morning its all the business.

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