Trinidad and Tobago's Machel Cedenio and Lalonde Gordon easily qualified for the semifinals of the Men's 400m event yesterday at the Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium, winning heat 1 and heat 4 respectively, to be two of 21 automatic qualifiers emerging from round one.
Three fastest losers were added to those, totalling 24 for the semifinal.
But the third Team TTO runner, Deon Lendore, failed to advance when he finished sixth in heat 5, fading on the home stretch.
The 19-year old Cedenio had a good view of the opposition in the opening heat of seven, judging his pace and coming off the bend to lead into the home stretch, eventually crossing the line in a measured 44.98 seconds.
The USA's Gil Roberts (45.27) and Cuba's Yoandys Lescay (45,36) captured second and third respectively. to be the other automatic qualifiers for the semifinal round today, starting at 7:30 p.m.
TTO's Lalonde Gordon was also up with the pace in his heat 4 run, using Botswana Baboloki Thebe to keep tabs on his pace, before surging past Thebe on the final stretch to be timed in 45.24. Slovenia's Luka Janezic followed Gordon on the final dash to the line to cross second in 45.33, while Thebe struggled to hold on for third in 45.41.
But Lendore could not replicate the efforts of his team TTO countrymen. USA's top quartermiler Lashawn Merritt led from blocks to finish-line, easing up in the final 50 metres to post a comfortable 45.28.
Lendore was second coming around the bend but started to lose his action and retreated to sixth spot in 46.15. Qatar's Abdalelah Haroun (45.76) and Botswana Isaac Makwaala (45.91) were second and third, respectively.
“It was a good run, I tried to measure myself and conserve energy for later rounds and that's what I did,” Cedenio said in an interview with ESPN.