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September 23, 2000
Beenamol qualifies for 400m semisThe Rediff Team
India's KM Beenamol, running in Heat 3 of Round 2 of the women's 400metre race at Stade Australia in Homebush Bay, qualified for the semifinal with a time of 51.81s.
Which makes the Indian the slowest among 16 qualifiers for the event. Event favourite Cathy Freeman topped the timings with 50.31, while 8 other runners also ran sub-51 laps.
Beenamol, however, the talking point of heat 3, with seasoned commentators expressing admiration for the Indian as she stormed through into the fourth place. Simply because she had an unusually slow start and, after 100 metres, was placed 7th in the field of 8.
From the way she ran, it appeared that her concentration was shot, early on -- thus, not only did she have a slow start, she then took additional time to get into the race. It was only around the 200 mark that she hit some sort of rhythm, and by the 275-300 mark, began to pull it back.
That was when she excited the attention of the crowd, and commentators, alike -- with an impressive display of power and speed that hauled back three runners in front of her, to just manage to pip Olabisi Afolabi of Nigeria for a place in the semis.
She will now run in the semis on Sunday.
In the heptathlon, Pramila Gudandda Ganapathy (3308 points) and Soma Biswas (3287) were placed 23 and 25 respectively in a pack of 30 athletes after four events.
Sazanovich Natalya of Belarus leads the field with 3903 points, followed by Roshchupkina Natalya of Russia with 3872 points.
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