Two of our returning Olympians competed in their preliminary rounds this hot and humid morning at the Maracana Stadium.
Donn Cabral did enough in his steeplechase preliminary heat to advance to his second Olympic final. In heat three, he had the advantage knowing that he needed to run sub-8:30 in order to advance as it was the top 3 in a given heat followed by the next six fastest. Once the gun went off, Cabral settled into the back half of the field and took his time to move to the front. Perhaps this was fortunate as he was able to avoid tripping over a fallen athlete after a barrier clearance halfway through the race. He was among the top 6 with two laps to go. He began to pick off his competitors, cruising into third place with 200m to go and holding on for an automatic qualification spot. His final time of 8:21.96 was the third fastest time of the day as his heat was the fastest among all of the preliminary rounds, with five of the six fastest non-auto qualifiers came out of his heat “I was happy to get out in the back and practice hurdling behind people,” he shared with Letsrun.com after the race. “I felt really comfortable moving up as the race went [on]. I didn’t have to [get] into race mode at the end. [It] felt like gliding through, very good,”
Cabral joins American teammates Evan Jager and Hillary Bor in the Olympic final, a first for the American men since 1936. Jager was also in the London final with Cabral, becoming the first American men to do so since Henry Marsh (1984 and 1988). The final will be on Wednesday at 10:50AM ET.
Muhammad Halim had eyes on making his first Olympic triple jump final, something that he fell shy of back in London. Unfortunately, he was not able to get a legal mark as he fouled all three of his attempts. The top 12 competitors advanced to the finals, with a mark of 16.61 meters making the cutoff. Halim’s personal best mark is 16.99 meters.