SPORTS

Periklis Iakovakis makes the 400m final at Osaka Worlds

Periklis Iakovakis, the men’s European 400-meter hurdles champion, reached the final of this event at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan, after capturing second place in his semifinal heat with a time of 48.44 seconds. Olympic champion Felix Sanchez of the USA won the semifinal heat to also advance to the event’s final, scheduled for Tuesday. Bershawn Jackson, the semifinal’s other American entrant, stumbled at the race’s last hurdle and was overtaken by Iakovakis for second place and a lane in the final. «That’s what the hurdles are there for. Otherwise, we’d be running 400 meters straight,» remarked Iakovakis after the race. «You’ve got to clear the hurdles and clock a good time. If you can do that, all is well and good,» the Greek athlete continued, without making predictions about his prospects in the final. Greek triple-jump athlete Dimitris Tsiamis is through to today’s final. The agenda on this third day of competition at the Osaka Worlds includes three Greek entries in qualifying heats. Flora Redoumi, will line up in the third of four heats in the 100-meter hurdles for a place in the semifinals. She will need to capture one of the first three places or, beyond that, clock one of the best four times. Two Greek athletes, Fani Halkia, the gold-medal winner in the women’s 400-meter hurdles at the Athens Olympics, and Christina Hantzi will run in qualifiers leading to the 400-meter hurdles semifinals. The Greek pair will run in separate heats, two of five in total. Semifinal places are reserved for the top four entrants of each heat and the four best times. Halkia has held the national record in the event with a time of 52.77 seconds since 2004. Hantzi, who goes into her heat having broken her best personal record this year with a time of 55.94 seconds, will, realistically, be content to make the semifinals. Aphroditi Skafida failed to reach the women’s pole vault final after registering no better than 4.35 meters. She made three unsuccessful attempts at clearing 4.45 meters to end 11th among a pool of 19 contestants in her qualifying group.