Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Connaughton comes up short in 200; sets sights on making relay final

Connaughton comes up short in 200;
sets sights on making relay final

Canada’s Jared Connaughton, right, from New Haven, P.E.I., and Great Britain’s Christian Malcolm cross the finish line in the men’s 200-metre semi-final at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Tuesday. Connaughton finished in seventh place and did not advance to the final. Canadian Press photo

The Guardian

As one Summer Olympic Games dream died on the running track at National Stadium in Beijing, China, Jared Connaughton moved quickly onto another.
The New Haven sprinter ran a 20.58 in his men’s 200-metres semifinal on Tuesday, good for seventh place but not good enough to reach today’s final. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt ran a 20.09 for the semis’ fastest time.
Still, Connaughton, 23, had a good dash at the 200-metre title in his first Games and is undaunted as he eyes the 4x100-metre men’s relay. Heats begin at 9:20 a.m. AT on Thursday.
“It was tough. I had to do a lot more work in the first two rounds than I’m used to, that showed over the last 50 metres. I learned a lot.’’
But he said in a post-race interview that he is pleased with his performances thus far.
“I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t set a personal best (currently 20.34), but heck, I’m without a doubt considered one of the best 200-metre runners in the world, so things could be worse. Now it’s time to reflect and re-energize for the 4x100-metre relay which I’ll be running the third leg.’’
Connaughton reached the 200-metre semis with times of 20.60 (third in the opening heat) and 20.45 (fourth in his quarter-final heat). He was the lone Canuck in the semis after Edmonton, Alta., native, Brian Barnett, re-injured a wonky hamstring in the quarter-finals and didn’t finish.
Canada hasn’t won gold in men’s 200-metres since 1932, and since 1996 in the 4 x100-metre men’s relay — a team that featured Donovan Bailey, Robert Esmie, Glenroy Gilbert and Bruny Surin.
Connaughton, a Bluefield high school graduate, is excited about the 4 x 100-metre challenge.
“I believe I proved throughout the 200-metres that I’m arguably one of the best curve runners in the world and that will bode well for our relay team. I’ve said in the past that I came here to make an Olympic final, so now my chances in the 200-metres are over, my and our only hope is the relay,’’ said Connaughton.
“I’m still very fit and very motivated and thrilled to be representing my family, friends, province and country (on) the biggest sporting stage on Earth.’’
P.E.I.’s other Olympian, Kara Grant, competes in the modern pentathlon Thursday at 9:30 p.m. AT.

By Guardian staff and CanWest News Service

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