By Mark Etheridge┬áin London
Lehann Fourie flew into the final of the Olympic men’s 110-metre hurdles on Wednesday night, running a season’s and personal best 13.28 seconds.
Fourie, who ended third in his semi-final, was only 0.02sec outside Shaun Bownes’ 11-year-old national record of 13.26.
“I’m still a bit shell-shocked,” said Fourie who has struggled with a hamstring injury for a large part of his build-up. “I hit one hurdle very hard, I think it was the seventh, and if I hadn’t I would have gone close or beaten that record.
“I always wanted to make the final so this is a dream come true. I’m so chuffed!’
“Now I must go and loosen down for tonight’s final, I’m still a bit tight after yesterday’s race.”
Fourie, who had previously run a season’s best 13.49 to make the semi-finals was always expected to struggle in a quality line-up like Wednesday night’s. But he founds himself in the final as seventh fastest man!
Going into his heat he was the slowest of the heat even after that season’s best in the first round but the fact that he got to run in that sort of company again will give him the confidence to go further down the line and now after making the final it will be sky high.
Olympic champion Dayron Robles won Fourie’s heat in a 13.10 season best.
Before Wednesday night his 13.49 run in the heats was only 0.04sec off his PB 13.44 run in the US two years ago.
Fastest men in the other heats were the two Americans, Jason Richardson (13.13) and Arries Merritt in 12.94.