Nigeria’s sole competitor in the 110 Hurdles, Antwon Hicks secured a spot in the semis after finishing 4th in the heats at the ongoing Olympic Games in Brazil on Monday.
The Nigerian Record holder was drawn in Heat 1 alongside World Leader Omar McLeod and USA’s Jeff Porter.
Hicks didn’t enjoy the best of starts but eventually tried to level up with the rest of the field, clocking 13.70s to finish behind McLeod (13.27s), Porter (13.50s) and Jeffrey Julmis (13.66s).
The former US athlete who qualified for his first Olympic Games after racing to a National Record (NR) of 13.27s at the Nigerian Trials this year will be hoping for a better performance in Tuesday’s semis.
Meanwhile Orlando Ortega kicked off competing for his adopted country, Spain on a winning note, coming from behind to take the lead in Heat 2 with 13.32s, with Balázs Baji (13.52s), Milan Trajkovic (13.59s) and Johnathan Cabral (13.63s) joining him to qualify from the race.
Frenchman Dimitri Bascou (13.31s) was the man to beat in Heat 3, finishing just ahead of Great Britain’s Andrew Pozzi (13.50s) who had a remarkable comeback, as well as Jamaica’s Andrew Riley (13.52s).
Homeboy João Vitor de Oliveira (13.63s) secured the fourth automatic qualifying slot, denying African Champion Antonio Alkana (13.64s) a shot at the semis.
Heat 4 was taken by Konstadínos Douvalídis of Greece (13.41s) who finished ahead of American Champion Devon Allen (13.41s), Gregor Traber (13.50s) and Cuba’s Yordan L. O’Farrill (13.56s). France’s Wilhem Belocian who stood a good chance of dominating the heat, was disqualified for a false start.
The final heat was won by USA’s Ronnie Ash who returned a time of 13.31s to win the race, with Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde taking 2nd in 13.36s. Lawrence Clarke (13.55s) and Éder Antonio Souza (13.61s) of Brazil joined the pair in qualifying for the semis.