FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Razorbacks Marek Niit, Wallace Spearmon, Jr. and Christin Wurth-Thomas competed in the opening rounds of their respective events on day four of the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin on Tuesday.
Soon-to-be Razorback sophomore Niit, running for his native Estonia, competed in the qualifying round of the 200 meters. He finished third in his heat with a time of 21.21. Despite advancing automatically from the qualifying round, he did not compete in the quarterfinals because of an injury.
Two-time World Outdoor Championships medalist Spearmon, Jr. coasted to second place in heat nine of the opening round of the 200 meters with a time of 20.66. Later in the day, in the quarterfinal rounds, he again finished second in his heat to automatically advance to the next round. He did so with a time of 20.44.
"I ran easily for the first round, and tried to save as much as possible for the next round," Spearmon, Jr. said. "I’m trying to gradually increase my speed and strength through every round. I’m feeling pretty good right now and injuries are minimal. I’m excited to see what I can do healthy."
"The race seemed pretty easy tonight," Spearmon, Jr. said."I didn’t want to expend any more energy than I had to, because I know that in the finals, I’m going to need all of it. As long as I was in the top two, that’s all that matters, so that I can get one of the preferred lanes. I did take a peek at the big screen to see where I was at and to make sure no one would sneak up on me. I didn’t want to see anyone come up and pass me."
Christin Wurth-Thomas finished fourth in her heat to automatically qualify for the next round in the 1,500 meters. Leading for much of the race, Wurth-Thomas clocked a prelim time of 4:08.23, running in heat three.
"In the beginning, there was some jostling going on. I don’t like to feel that there are people on top of me, so I was telling myself, "’This is slow! We go faster than this at USAs, so let’s just go!" I felt comfortable during the race, and over the last 50 meters, I looked up at the monitor knowing where I was at, and basically shut it down. I was hoping that the pace would be faster, but hey, it’s the prelims, so you have to go with it."
Wednesday will hold rounds of the 200 meters that will include Veronica Campbell-Brown and Spearmon, Jr. Wurth-Thomas will run the semifinals of the 1,500 meters on Friday.
NBC, Versus to broadcast meet
The 2009 World Championships will be broadcast in the United States daily on NBC and Versus. The broadcast schedule is as follows. All times Eastern; subject to change; check local listings.
August 19: 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. Versus
August 20: 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Versus
August 21: 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Versus
August 22: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. NBC
August 23: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. NBC
For more information on Team USA at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, visit: www.usatf.org.