LONDON - Three Aggie sprinters - Deon Lendore, Demetrius Pinder and Jeneba Tarmoh - ran on successful Olympic relay squads during prelims Thursday as each advanced to the finals.
In the morning session Pinder of the Bahamas and Lendore of Trinidad and Tobago each ran in the 4 x 400 prelims. Lendore anchored Trinidad to a national record winning time of 3:00.38 while Pinder ran the second leg of Bahamas winning effort in 2:58.87, the fastest time ever recorded in an Olympic prelim race.
Tarmoh raced in the evening session, running the second leg of the United States 4 x 100 relay. The squad posted a winning heat time of 41.64, the second fastest time in Olympic history that only trails a 41.60 by the East Germans from 1980.
Lendore split 44.49 seconds as he brought Trinidad from third to first past Cuba and Great Britain. The British were credited with the same time as Trinidad, 3:00.38, while Cuba finished third in 3:00.55.
"I came out here to measure myself," noted Lendore. "We wanted first place in the heats. We are like sharks. We have to go out to win, set the bar. We have an equal chance to win the final."
Pinder moved the Bahamas into the lead during his second leg carry of 43.7 seconds. When Chris Brown anchored the team with a 44.58 they shared the same time of 2:58.87 with the United States.
"I just wanted to win my leg," stated Pinder. "It means a lot to get into the final, but we're not going to let it get to us. We're going to stay focused."
In the 4 x 400 final, which will be run at 9:20 p.m. on Friday evening (3:20 p.m. CST), Trinidad will start from lane four while the Bahamas are in six with the United States in seven. The nine-team field will include Russia, Venezuela, Great Britain, Belgium, Cuba and a South African squad that was advanced to the final after they were interfered with in the prelims.
Tarmoh ran with a U.S. squad that included Tianna Madison, Bianca Knight and Lauryn Williams. For the final Carmelita Jeter and Allyson Felix will likely be added to the line-up. The foursome that ran in the prelims posted the top American time ever in the Olympics, topping a 41.65 set in 1984 when the U.S. won gold.
Joining the Americans in the final are Trinidad and Tobago, who set a national record of 42.31, Urkaine, Jamaica, Netherlands, Germany, Brazil and Nigeria. Start time for the final on Friday is 8:40 p.m. (2:40 p.m. CST).