Symmonds Finishes Fifth in Semifinal Heat at Olympics

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

BEIJING, CHINA -- Nick Symmonds '06 ran a solid race in the first semifinal heat of the 800-meter run at the Olympic Games, but placed fifth at 1:46.96 and did not advance to the finals. Wilfred Bungei of Kenya won the heat in 1:46.23 and Yeimer Lopez of Cuba took second in 1:46.40.

Only the top two finishers in each of the three semifinal heats earned automatic berths into the Olympic finals. The next two fastest times also moved on to the final round.

In Heat #1, just over one-half second (0.56) separated Lopez in second place and Symmonds in fifth. Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia took third at 1:46.53 and Amine Laalou of Morocco claimed fourth place at 1:46.74.

Following Symmonds was Mohammad Al-Azemi of Kuwait at 1:47.14 for sixth place. Marcin Lewandowski of Poland was seventh at 1:47.24 and Mohammed Al-Salhi of Saudi Arabia was eighth in 1:47.65.

Heat #1 included Symmonds and four other preliminary heat winners. Symmonds, Bungei, Lopez, Laalou and Al-Azemi each won a preliminary heat to reach the semifinals.

The second semifinal heat was won by Alfred Kirwa Yego of Kenya with a time of 1:44.73. Yego took second place behind Symmonds in Heat #4 of the preliminary round. Ismail Ahmed Ismail of Sudan was second in Heat #2 of the semifinals in 1:44.91. Also qualifying for the finals from the second heat were Yusuf Saad Kamel of Bahrain at 1:44.95 and Nadjim Manseur of Algeria at 1:45.54.

Heat #3 was won by Nabil Madi of Algeria at 1:45.63. Gary Reed of Canada took second place in the heat at 1:45.85.

It is not certain when the semifinal heats will be shown on television. The finals of the 800-meter run will be held on Saturday, Aug. 23 at 4:30 a.m. Pacific Time and will be broadcast on NBC as part of its prime time coverage Saturday night.

Photo by Thomas Patterson of the Statesman Journal.

Nick Symmonds, shown here at the Olympic Trials, placed fifth in his semifinal heat at the Olympics.

Nick Symmonds, shown here at the Olympic Trials, placed fifth in his semifinal heat at the Olympics.