Athletics: Felix eases into semi-finals with focus on 400

Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:12pm EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Allyson Felix showed no discomfort from her ankle as she eased through the first round of the 400 meters heats on Saturday, taking another step towards what would be a fifth Olympic gold for the American.

Hampered by the injury she sustained this year in a freak gym incident, the 30-year-old Californian missed out on defending her Olympic 200 meters title when she failed to get in to the top three at the cut-throat U.S. trials.

That has made her bid to add the Olympic title over one lap to the world crown she already owns even more important and she started her campaign with a comfortable win in heat two, stopping the clock at 51.24 seconds after easing up over the last 50 meters.

"It feels good, I was focusing on first half," she told reporters.

"I've made good progress (with the ankle) since trials. It's fairly close to what it should be. Recovery is the key now.

"It's good to get out there on the track and get started. This race is completely different to the 200m. I just have to run hard and focus on doing the 400m now. I'll do my best."

Felix's time was only the sixth fastest of the morning behind a host of pretenders to the Olympic crown Sanya Richards-Ross will be unable to defend after suffering a career-ending injury at the U.S. trials.

American Phyllis Francis topped the time sheets in 50.58 seconds followed Bahrainis Oluwakemi Adekoya (50.72) and 18-year-old Salwa Eid Naser (51.06), a national record and personal best respectively.   Continued...

Aug 13, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Allyson Felix (USA) during the women's track and field 400m preliminaries in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Estadio Olimpico Joao Havelange. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports