RIO DE JANEIRO – Texas A&M’s Bralon Taplin advanced to the final of the 400 meters in the Olympic Games with a semifinal victory on Saturday in 44.44 seconds. The final will be at 8 p.m. (CT) on Sunday evening on KAGS.
Taplin, who is representing Grenada in the Olympics, will line up in lane four during the final next to American LaShawn Merritt, the 2008 Olympic champion, with Kirani James of Grenada, the 2012 gold medalist, in lane six.
In the long jump final held in the Olympic Stadium, Aggie alum Fabrice Lapierre finished 10th with a leap of 25-10 (7.87). That was the lone mark for Lapierre among two fouls in the first three rounds of the final.
During the prelims of the 400m on Friday, Taplin clocked 45.15 to win his heat with the fourth best time overall in the opening round to reach the semifinal. Deon Lendore posted a 46.15 and didn’t advance.
Kanika Beckles, running for Grenada, ran a season best time of 52.41 in the first round of the women’s 400m to finish fifth in her heat.
In men’s 100m qualifying on Saturday, Gerald Phiri ran 10.27 while Shavez Hart clocked 10.28, but neither advanced to the semifinal as they placed 36th and 37th overall among the field of 70 sprinters.
Running for Zambia, Phiri finished fourth in the second heat which was won by Justin Gatlin in 10.01 seconds. Hart, representing the Bahamas, placed fifth in the same heat that was claimed by Usain Bolt in 10.07 seconds. Hart finished ahead of Richard Thompson (10.29), who was a bronze medalist in 2008, and former NFL player Jahvid Best (10.39).
In the women’s 100m first round on Friday the Aggie combo of Jennifer Madu and Brenessa Thompson recorded times of 11.61 and 11.72. Neither sprinter advanced to the semifinals. Thompson placed seventh in her heat that was won by Holland’s Dafne Schippers in 11.16 while Madu finished fifth in the heat claimed by Tianna Bartoletta in 11.23.