|Sheniqua through to 100m semis, Debbie out|
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Aug 04, 2012
LONDON, England – Sheniqua ‘Q’ Ferguson advanced to the semi-finals of the women’s 100 meters (m) yesterday with a time of 11.35 seconds, while Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie was faster with a time of 11.32 seconds but failed to move on.
That’s just the way it goes sometimes as the latter found herself in a faster opening round heat and couldn’t maintain pace with the leaders. Only the top three runners from the first round, and the next three fastest times, moved on to the semi-finals; and Ferguson finished third with her clocking of 11.35, while Ferguson-McKenzie ended up fifth.
With that fifth place finish by Ferguson-McKenzie in her heat at the 30th Olympic Games, one of the most
impressive streaks in world athletics came to an abrupt end.
Ferguson-McKenzie had never failed to get out of the first round in her individual events in the previous four Olympics, and was the only athlete, male or female, to have ever made the final of both the 100m and 200m at three straight Olympics.
Unfortunately, it won’t happen for a fourth straight Olympics in London. Ferguson-McKenzie, who is still recuperating from a bone bruise in her right ankle, said she is thankful and will now look forward to the 200m and the relay.
“As a competitor you always envision yourself on the podium, not just to make the final. Unfortunately that didn’t happen this year,” said the veteran sprinter in an interview.
“It was a fast heat, but not being able to train the way I wanted to because of the injury might have hampered me a bit. Being able to run 11.32 is a blessing though. I was in a boot, and now I ran an 11.32, so that in itself was a miracle for me. I never really thought about the injury – I just wanted to compete and do well and I’m thankful.”
As for Ferguson, she’s coming off an injury herself. Both sprinters sat out the BTC/Scotiabank Olympic Trials in New Providence in June because of nagging injuries – Ferguson-McKenzie with the bone bruise in her right ankle, and Ferguson with a sore right hamstring.
“Coming back from that hamstring injury, I was a bit nervous because this was the first time for me testing it out since May, but I’m happy with the time and I’m happy that I went out there and executed my race,” said Ferguson.
“I didn’t feel any pain and any tightness, so things could just get better from here.”
Ferguson had the world champion in her heat in the person of American Carmelita Jeter but she said she wasn’t discouraged at all. With her 10.64 lifetime best, Jeter is the second fastest woman ever over that distance, behind the late Florence Griffith-Joyner.
“She’s unbelievable, but I wasn’t worried. I got her in the first round at World Champs last year, so it wasn’t anything new to me,” said Ferguson.
“I just wanted to go out there and execute my race. It was good having her in the race, but I wasn’t worried.”
Jeter easily won that heat in 10.83 seconds and was the top qualifier for the semi-finals. Olga Bludova, from Kazakhstan, finished second in that heat in 11.31 seconds, and Ferguson rounded out the top three.
Jamaican Olympic Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce won the heat with Ferguson-McKenzie in 11 seconds flat. Semoy Hackett, from Trinidad and Tobago, was second in that heat in a personal best time of 11.04 seconds, and Olesya Povh, from the Ukraine, finished third in that heat in 11.18 seconds. Guzel Khubbieva, from Uzbekistan, was fourth in that heat in 11.22 seconds, and Ferguson-McKenzie finished fifth.
“Well, I definitely wasn’t as aggressive as I would have liked,” said Ferguson-McKenzie.
“I think if I had a better first 40 meters it would have worked out better for me, but it took me a while to get tall and to get going, and you can’t do that in the 100 meters.”
The top six qualifiers for the semi-finals all dipped below 11 seconds. Ferguson had the slowest qualifying time, and will run in the same semi-final heat as Fraser-Pryce, the bronze medalist from last year’s World Championships Kelly-Ann Baptiste, from Trinidad and Tobago, and former three-time World Champion over 200m, American Allyson Felix. They will run in the second of three semi-finals. Ferguson will run out of lane two, and only the top two and the next two fastest times advance to the final.
At her inaugural Olympics in Beijing, China, four years ago, Ferguson advanced to the second round of the 200m, but failed to make the semi-finals. This is the first time that she has made the semi-finals of an individual event at the Olympic Games.