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Pechenkina opens defence to 400m Hurdles with win

26 August 2007

Defending champion Yuliya Pechenkina of Russia moved through to semi-finals of the women’s 400 metres hurdles at the 11th World Championships in Osaka this morning.

Pechenkina opened with rounds with a time of 54.50 to beat Jamaica’s Nickiesha Wilson, who clocked 55.15.

“It was not that easy as it looked. Obviously very hot and the track is from the sun somehow soft,” she said afterwards. “But I managed my planned stride pattern with 15 until the 7th hurdle and rest with 17. Of course enough is left for the next races.”

Meanwhile, Australia’s Jana Rawlinson also booked a slot in the semis when she won heat four of the morning in 54.77, the fourth-fastest time overall.

American Tiffany Ross, who won the second heat in 54.24 was the fastest qualifier. She defeated Poland’s Anna Jesien (55.01).

Also making through was Ukraine’s Tetiana Tereschuk-Antipova, who clocked 54.74 to beat Jamaica’s Melaine Walker (55.40).

Greek Olympic champion Fani Halkia (55.66) also made it through to the next round.

“I’ve injury problems with my legs this year, so it made it difficult for me to train on the hurdles,” the Greek star said.

“So I had to delay my return in the 400m hurdles and in the end decided ‘We will leave it to August’. Today I wasn’t too good, but it’s my first race and thanks God, I’m healthy. I hope the next round will be better.”

In the meantime, Russian powerhouse jumper Tatyana Lebedeva (Long Jump) and Yelena Isinbaeva and Svetlana Feofanova (Pole Vault) moved through to the finals of their respective events

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