Gaye, Bloomfied advance to 400m semis


Wednesday, October 02, 2019

DOHA, Qatar — National champion Demish Gaye and Akeem Bloomfield both advanced to the semi-finals of the men's 400m here, while national record holder Rusheen McDonald turned in another clinker and was eliminated in the first round.

Bloomfield was first into action and placed second in heat one in 45.34 seconds behind Machel Cedino of Trinidad and Tobago, who won in 45.26. Thapelo Phora of South Africa finished third in 45.45 seconds, while Kenya's Alphas Leken Kishoyian grabbed fourth with 45.65 and secured his spot in the semi-finals.

Bloomfield, who has a personal best of 43.94 seconds and a season's best of 44.40, ran a somewhat controlled race and wasn't perturbed about finishing second.

“I felt okay. The first 200m was a bit sluggish for my taste, but you know it's just the first round, so the aim was just to qualify and take it from there,” Bloomfield pointed out.

He said that having to wait five days since the IAAF World Athletics Championships started to get it to action did not affect him much as he is raring to go.

“I got some training in over these couple of days and this is the first round and I got my lungs opened and my legs flowing, so we will take it from here,” he explained.

“I got some good races in… 44.4 and 44.6 before the championships, and I got some good training in as well,” he added.

With his main competitors all looking relaxed throughout the first round, the stage is set for some epic clashes in the semi-finals and a mouth-watering final.

“I think I am one of the best in the world, and it is just now to show that I am one of the best in the world,” said the sprinter who stands at 6 feet 6 inches, which experts believe is ideal for the quarter-mile.

“I think if the conditions are right, and my body allows me to go, I should be definitely going into the realms of fast times. But, as I said, for now, we have just got through the heats and I have a semi-final tomorrow and we will take it from there,” said Bloomfield.

Meanwhile, national champion Gaye also navigated his way safely into the semis after finishing second in heat four in a very good 45.02 seconds. American favourite Michael Norman won effortlessly in 45.00 seconds. Leungo Scotch of Botswana was third in 45.10 seconds, his personal best. Yousef Karam finished fourth with 45.74 seconds and also made it to the semis.

Gaye, who has a personal best of 44.55 seconds and a season's best of 44.83, said he felt comfortable coming home in 45.02 and is ready to run faster.

“Tomorrow (today) in the semi-final, it will be the same strategy put myself in a good position and make it to the final,” he said.

“This is my first run, and I am not really used to the condition. I am feeling good,” said Gaye, who brushed off, with a laugh, a question about his medal chances.

Meanwhile, McDonald looked out of sorts once again and was fifth in heat five in a slow 46.21 seconds. He started out slow, tried to turn on the afterburners in the straight, but blew up once again.

Steven Gardener of The Bahamas won effortlessly in 45.68 seconds, with Philip Osei of Canada finishing second in 45.87 just ahead of Anthony Zambrano of Colombia in 45.93.

McDonald told reporters in the mix zone he was a bit rusty as it was his first race in two months, and if he got one more round he would be fine. At the time he was still hopeful of making the semi-final.

“If I don't get through to the semi-final I will come back and do my best in the 4x400,” said McDonald.

He has not returned to or come even close to his 2015 record form for one reason or the other, but he remained hopeful that things will change.

“In the 400 everybody has their time, and when it's my time, it's my time, and I am not really pressuring myself with stuff like that,” he said, adding that he has had a bad season and has been trying to run himself into shape.

“I am running 400 metres for six years now and I don't know what happen. The way how you train, sometimes the coach might change up the race plan. This moment I might go out hard, next moment I might jog the 200 metres or next moment I run 300; every year is a different thing. My race plan was to get to 300, but when I get to 300 to try come round it is not working,” said a perplexed McDonald.

Today, Gaye is drawn in semi-final two alongside 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada, who looked to be nearing his best with an easy 44.94 seconds, the fastest of the day, and Steven Gardener of The Bahamas.

Bloomfield is drawn in semi-final three and will match strides with Michael Norman and Machel Cedino. An interesting entrant in the race is Japan's Julian Jrummi Walsh, who has a Jamaican father.

He was second to James in his heat in 45.14 seconds.