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Syombua exit in 400m heats as Botswana’s Montsho calls it a day on the track

ATHLETICS By Bismarck Mutahi in Tokyo, Japan | August 3rd 2021
Hellen Syombua during the national trials for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games at The Moi International Sports Stadium, Kasarani, June 19, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya’s 400m runner Hellen Syombua’s Olympic dream ended in the heats at the Olympics Stadium on Tuesday after finishing fifth.

She clocked 52.70 in heat five which was won by one of the pre-race favourites Jamaica’s Stephanie Ann McPherson in 50.89.

Syombua was left disappointed as she was hoping to reach the semi-finals and try to run her personal best time in the Tokyo track that has seen many runners improve on their lifetime best times.

“It was my dream to try and run my personnel best time at the Olympics. It is my hope that I can qualify as one of the best losers,” Syombua said after her race.

It was later to be confirmed that her time was much slower and she will have to wait for another championship to try and run her lifetime best time.

Meanwhile, former world 400m champions Botswana’s Amatla Montsho has called it a day on the track.

The 38-year-old said she had competed in her last race after failing to finish her heats on Tuesday.

“I would have retired last year, but because of Covid disruption, I was not able to run. I was not even supposed to come to the Olympics, but I am happy to bow out at this big stage,” she said.

She said her biggest moment was winning her world title at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea and also the silver medal she won at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia.

“The gold medal in Daegu and silver in Russia are my best moments on the track and my lowest moment has to here in Tokyo,” Montsho said.

She also promised to visit Kenya in the future, but also encouraged young athletes to always strive to give their best.

She also praised her compatriot Nijel Amos, who will be running in the 800m men final today and wished him well.

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