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One last chance
Barbados’ final three athletes will be competing today in the hurdles events
By Alan Harris at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford
London – Barbados will today make its final push for Olympic success when three athletes compete in the opening round of the Men’s 110 metre hurdles, scheduled to start at 10:10 a.m. in the British capital (5:10 a.m. in the eastern Caribbean).
It will be the first time that the country had fielded the maximum quota of athletes for a single athletics event at the Olympic Games.
First up will be Greggmar Swift, who booked his ticket to London in June with a personal best time of 13.52 seconds, achieved on his final attempt, at national trials. The 21-year-old will get the ball rolling for Barbados as he makes his Olympic debut in Heat 4 (5:31 a.m.).
Despite his overwhelming promise, the Indiana State sophomore will be running out of lane one and enters the race with the odds heavily stacked against him. Though his season best time of 13.52 seconds indicates a mid-pack finish, he will face stiff opposition from defending Olympic champion and world record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba, who will be on the other side of the track in lane nine. Also expected to feature is Jeff Porter of the United States, who will be running alongside Swift in lane two.
Prospects should improve in Heat 5 (5:38 a.m.) with former world champion Ryan Brathwaite running out of lane three. Expected to challenge the 24-year-old is American Aries Merritt, this year’s world indoor champion who has clocked a staggering 12.93 seconds in his past three races.
Besides Aries, the only other runner in the heat with a quicker time this season than Brathwaite’s 13.29 is Italy’s Emanuele, who enters with a 13.28.
Shane Brathwaite will be last up, running out of lane two in Heat 6 (5:45 a.m.), the final heat of the morning session.
The 22-year-old Texas Tech junior enters the race with the third-fastest qualifying time of 13.31 seconds. Only China’s Liu Xiang (12.97 seconds), the 2004 gold medalist from Athens, and Poland’s Artur Noga (13.27 seconds), have a faster qualifying time than Brathwaite.
Reigning world champion Jason Richardson of the United States will be competing in Heat 2.
Other Caribbean athletes in action include Jamaica’s Andrew Riley (Heat 2), Hansle Parchment (Heat 3) and Richard Philips (Heat 5); Trinidad & Tobago’s Wayne Davis (Heat 2) and Mikel Thomas (Heat 3); along with Jeffery Julmis (Heat 5) of Haiti and Shamar Sands of the Bahamas (Heat 3).