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September 28, 2000
Jones, Freeman, Jayasinghe qualify for 200mThe Rediff Team
Given the presence of Marion Jones and hometown heroine Cathy Freeman, the runners in the women's 200m semifinals got more of a roar from the packed Stadium Australia than some of the finalists on view on the day.
Heat one featured, from lane one to eight, Columbia's Felipa Palacious; Ukraine's Zhanna Pintusevych; Jamaica's Beverly McDonald; Debbie Ferguson of the Bahamas; Marion Jones of the USA; Leonie Mani of Cameroon; Australia's Lauren Hewitt, and Mercy Nku of Nigeria.
It took all of four paces for Marion Jones to take a one pace lead over the field. Running well within herself, Marion just kept powering away, reducing the race to a one-woman affair until she got to the 150 mark, at which point she slowed down to a jog -- and still breasted the tape about 3 meters ahead of the nearest rival, timing 22.40 (world record 21.24).
Debbie Ferguson came second in 22.62, Beverly McDonald was in 22.70 and Zhanna Pintusevych came in fourth in 22.74. All four qualify for the finals later this evening.
Heat two featured, again from lane 1 to 8, Nanceen Perry of the United States; Cathy Freeman of Australia; Melinda Gainsford-Taylor of Australia; Louise Ayetotche of Cote d'Ivoire; Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas; Susanthika Jayasinghe of Sri Lanka; Torri Edwards of the United States and Muriel Hurtis of France.
The hugely impressive Susantika Jayasinghe took off at the start, running a very impressive race to head the field before slowing down around the 150m mark. Cathy Freeman, lying second to last at one point and looking in danger of elimination, began sprinting harder at around the same point, putting on a burst and just managing to come in fourth.
Pauline Davis touched the tape in 22.38, to qualify fastest for the finals, with Jayasinghe second in 22.45, Gainsford-Taylor in 22.61 and Cathy Freeman in 22.71. These four will join the four from the first heat, in the final later today.
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