Pauline Coquette qualified for the semi-finals of the 400-meter hurdles at the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Saturday with a Belgian record. Han Claes was killed in the series.
Hanne Claes was allowed to open the 400m hurdles in Tokyo on Saturday morning. Claes isn’t fit yet after a lot of injuries, but he still wants to bite the pain in this series.
With a 56″ 38 chrono, she remained well above her personal best (55″ 20) and became eighth and final in her series.
In Series 2 of the 400-meter hurdles, Pauline Coquette gave her her business card. Couckuyt has so far shared the Belgian record (54″ 95) with Ann Mercken, but with a time of 54″ 90, Couckuyt is now the only record holder.
Couckuyt ran smoothly to third in her series, and the top four in each series went to the semi-finals. Those are on the show Monday, with Paulien Couckuyt.
Video: Couckuyt improves Belgian record
Couckuyt: ‘I think there’s a better time’
“This performance was always in my head and it felt so good. I couldn’t be happier,” Pauline Coquette reacted after her Belgian record in the series.
“I was a bit afraid of the open air track, because two years ago at the World Cup in Doha, my race failed, because you really don’t know what you are doing at all. After hurdle 4, I had some doubts, so he had to take hurdle 5 with a different leg.”
“But by itself I could have run my own race and immediately focused on the next hurdle. So the outdoor track was actually an advantage and a disadvantage.
In fact, the legs in the Hurdle 5 switched very smoothly. I don’t think it was noticed as a bug either. But at the time, I had to look again for the right cadence for the rest of the race. So I think I can go faster.”
I think there’s a better time ahead, but I don’t see a definitive happening right away. The level is incredibly high.
“I hope to hit the rhythm I have in mind in the semi-finals and then I think there will be a better time. The most stressful moment is over and now I’m going to enjoy it.”
“The level here is incredibly high, so I don’t expect a final to happen right away. Unless I suddenly take half a second of my time, maybe I will. I’ll give it all, but I don’t think it’s possible.”
“The path is very easy. If the surface is too soft, you really have to push. That’s not the case here. It feels like a nice slope to walk on.”
Hanne Claes: “It’s such a shame that I can’t show what I can do”
So Hanne Claes was less successful, and was immediately eliminated.
The lead-up to the Olympics was a bumpy track for Claes. So there was no high performance.
“It was a very difficult preparation. I missed a lot of training sessions, so I lacked some rhythm today and felt that on the hurdles,” she replies.
“I felt conditionally good, but if you don’t get your cadence on the hurdle it will always be some kind of improvisation. Overall, I enjoyed it and I’m glad I was able to run this Olympic race, despite a lot of sedatives.”
“For the past two years, I’ve been going from injury to injury, so it’s really unfortunate that I can’t show what I can do. I think I can really go to the semi-finals if I’m at my level in the morning.” “
“I hope to be inducted into the Cheetas and if not, I’m sure the other girls will fight for that final too. I really enjoyed the day and I’m so glad I was able to make my Olympic debut.”
“Couckuyt’s Belgian record is of course fantastic. She really showed she was on her legs and now she confirmed it just in time.”
Video: Hanne Claes dies in the series
Hanne Claes: “I walked with a lot of painkillers”
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