Olympics: Syombua fails to qualify for semi-finals of women’s 400m, finishes 5th
ATHLETICS By Odero Charles | August 3rd 2021
Kenya's Hellen Syombua on Tuesday morning bowed out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after she failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the women’s 400m at the Japan National Stadium.
Running from lane eight in heat five, a powerful push on the final stretch saw Syombua cross in a time of 52.70 to finish fifth, behind Irish Phil Healy who clocked 51.98.
Jamaica’s Stephenie Ann McPherson won Syombua’s heat in a time of 50.89.
Natalia Kaczmarek of Poland was second at 51.06 with Mexico’s Paola Moran third at 51.18.
Two years ago, Helen Syombua Kalii broke Ruth Waithera’s 35-year-year-old national record in the women’s 400 metres.
While in the US, Waithera won the NCAA Division 1 Women's Indoor Championship (400 metres) in 1984, the same year that she set a Kenyan national record.
Before Syombua stormed to 51.09 on June 22, 2019 in Nairobi, Waithera’s record had only been threatened by Elizabeth Muthuku.
However, Muthuku's time was never recognised. Before that, no other Kenyan woman had ever run a faster time than the 51.56 set by Waithera in 1984, until Syombua slashed 47 macro seconds off it.
Born: August 8, 1997
Personal best: She is the national record holder with a time of 51.09 seconds.
Occupation: National Police Service
Olympic appearance: Debut
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