Richard “Torpedo” Thompson made it to the final of the men’s 100 metres yesterday but his time of 9.98 seconds in the fastest ever Olympic sprint was only good enough for seventh place at the Olympic Games in London, England. “My start seemed to be okay. I was with the pack for up to 50 metres or so and once I came up the entire pack moved away from me from what I could see from the replay. It’s been an up and down year for me in terms of health, so the kind of work I needed to really put in to be stronger in the last part of the race wasn’t necessarily there. But I’m not going to make that an excuse, because when you look at the top four times, they were actually faster than what I have ever run in my entire life,” said Thompson, who in the last Olympics won silver behind defending champion, Usain Bolt, who retained his crown with another scintillating performance. The Jamaican superstar obliterated his own record to clock 9.63, a new Olympic record. The previous mark was 9.69 which he set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His countryman Yohan Blake, who equalled his personal best (pb) of 9.75 and American Justin Gatlin bagged silver and bronze respectively with the American also running his pb of 9.79. “Hats off to the guys who medalled today (yesterday). I’m not surprised to see Bolt win, Blake second, and one of the Americans third because for that is how it was looking all that way. “ The long-awaited finale lived up to expectations with packed Olympic Stadium going into a frenzy when the names of the finalists were announced. And when asked to be silent for the start, it was uncanny to witness that huge mass of people go soundless, anxiously awaiting the blast of the gun. When it did go off, the fastest men on the planet took off in a blitz. Asafa Powell seemed the only one not to have a perfect start as he stumbled out of the blocks. He reached the line in 11.99. Thompson, running in lane two, was right among the leaders some 30 metres out but by the halfway mark, Bolt scorched down the track to take his third Olympic gold medal. He is the first man to win back-to-back titles on the track.
USA’s Tyson Gay, who was in tears following the race, placed fourth with a season’s best of 9.80. Next was another American Ryan Bailey, the fastest qualifier, also equalling his pb of 9.88. Churandy Martina of Netherlands was sixth in 9.94.
Thompson was the sole local runner advancing to the final. Running in heat two, he placed third in 10.02, to progress with one of the fastest losers’ time. His fellow runners, Keston Bledman and Rondel Sorrillo bowed out in the semifinals. ledman ran fourth in the opening semifinal heat with a time of 10.04 and Sorrillo placed seventh in 10.31 in heat three. Earlier on the track, Lalonde Gordon impressed by advancing to the Men’s 400m final with the fastest qualifying time of 44.58, a personal best for him. “My coach said run hard and fast and just finish strong,” said Gordon after the race. “I was expecting to finish in the first two but I am surprised about my time. “I want people to have faith in me and I will be looking for gold in the final.”
In the women’s 400m heats, Janielle Bellille failed to advance after placing seventh in heat four in 57.27. At the Olympic Velodrome, Njisane Phillip’s fairytale run is heading for a dramatic end. The storyline could not be predicted as the young rider keeps discarding the “Top Guns” of sprint cycling.
Phillip eliminated Denis Dimitriev of Russia in the best of three quarterfinals of the Men’s sprint event, topping him, 2-0.
“It’s a blessing just to be here..,” said Phillip as he paused letting the thought sink in. “I don’t know what to say.” Smiling all the time and certainly enjoying the moment, Phillip added, “Its been a long road. This is what the sacrifice is about. Just being here, just getting here from Trinidad. “Getting the love from the crowd on a whole, this is crazy. This what the hard work is about. The sacrifice, the blood, the sweat, the tears. “And I am not even on the podium but I’m happy, I’m proud of myself regardless. I could leave here today and I will be super proud,” said Phillip. Next up for Phillip is Great Britain’s Jason Kenny, who claimed a 2-0 quarterfinal win over Malaysia’s Awang Azizulhasni. Three-time world champion Frenchman Gregory Bauge advanced at the expense of Robert Forstemann of Germany, also getting a 2-0 win. Bauge is set to meet Shane Perkins in the last four after the Australian beat Jimmy Watkins of the USA 2-0 in their last-eight contest. At the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich Arsenal, shooter Roger Daniel’s run at the Games came to a disappointing end with him placing 35th in the Men’s 50m pistol. A little over a week ago, it was a similiar result for the local shooter in the 10m air pistol where he placed 36th.