PARIS – Shingo Suetsugu on Thursday became the first Japanese to advance to the final of the men’s 200 meters in either the Olympics or the World Championships when he clocked the second fastest time in his heat in the semifinals.
Suetsugu, who owns the national record of 20.03 seconds, crossed the finish line in 20.22 seconds — behind John Capel of the United States and fourth overall — after topping the field to cruise through both qualifiers on Wednesday.
“I lost my balance in the first half, so I’ll have to work on that tomorrow. It all starts from here on. I want to test myself and see how much energy I really have in me,” the 23-year-old sprinter said.
Suetsugu is aiming to become the first Asian to break the 20-second barrier in the 200. He will run in Lane 5 in Friday evening’s final with 2003 U.S outdoor champion Darvis Patton in Lane 4 and Capel in Lane 6.
Meanwhile, Daichi Sawano, the first Japanese in 20 years to reach the men’s pole vault final at the worlds, withdrew from the event Thursday after pulling a muscle in his left hamstring during practice the same day.