Aug. 30, 2011
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Kevin Borlee’s bronze medal in the 400-meters and the advancement of Ciaran O’Lionaird and Hannah England in the 1,500 meters, highlighted Tuesday’s action-packed schedule at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, Korea by the former Florida State standouts on hand.
Borlee, representing Belgium along with his twin brother Jonathan in the 400 finals, pushed the medal total by former Seminoles to two on Day 4 of the competition. Chasing gold medalist Kirani James and runner-up LaShawn Merritt to the tape, Borlee finished strong to capture the bronze in 44.90. Brother Jonathan was fifth (45.07) in the final event of the night.
“An amazing performance by Kevin and Jonathan to make the World Championship final and represent the Seminole family at the highest level,” said FSU sprints/hurdles coach Ken Harnden, who is in Daegu for the championships along with jumps coach Dennis Nobles. “Kevin ran such a controlled race and it paid off in the highest honor. And for Jonathan to join his brother and be fifth in the World is truly amazing. What a family.”
Equally impressive were the performances of O’Lionaird and England.
Participating in his first World Championships and representing Ireland, O’Lionaird continued his remarkable summer by using a finishing kick over the final 100 meters to lock down a sixth-place finish in the third heat and a spot in Thursday’s semifinals. His time of 3:40.41 was four seconds off his personal best, which he set last month in securing a World berth and an Olympic A-standard qualifying time.
“I was comfortable the whole way,” O’Lionaird told FloTrack in a post-race interview. “I knew where I needed to be. … I’m really happy. To be honest with you, I’m surprised to make it.”
England, representing Great Britain, was also up to the task in her 1,500 meter semifinal. Caught up in the blistering second heat pace, she qualified for Thursday’s finals on time in 4:08.31.
Jamaica’s Kim Williams, one of the most decorated athletes in FSU track & field history, appeared on her way to a spot the finals of the triple jump through her first two attempts. With a best effort of 14.06 meters she sat alone in sixth place in the second flight, with one round remaining. Serbia’s Biljana Topic, jumping ninth in the order of participants, vaulted past Williams with a season-best 14.21m effort. Needing to nearly match her career best (14.25) to regain the sixth position, Williams followed Topic immediately on the runway, but came up short.
A pair of Seminoles endured disappointing finishes as well Tuesday. Great Britain’s Barbara Parker finished 14th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase final, closing in 9:56.66.
No athletes with FSU ties will compete Wednesday, but Thursday’s schedule will include the 4×400 relay trials, where the Borlee brothers will represent Belgium. England go to battle for a medal in the 1,500 finals, while O’Lionaird will try and advance to the finals in the 1,500 from his semifinal heat.