ATHENS – Shingo Suetsugu and Nobuharu Asahara breezed through the first round of the men’s 100-meter heats Saturday, but Japanese compatriot Hiroyasu Tsuchie failed to advance to the second round.
Suetsugu clocked 10.27 seconds in Heat 1, finishing third behind Frank Fredericks of Namibia and Nigerian Uchenna Emedolu, who ran in 10.12 and 10.22, respectively, at Olympic Stadium.
“I started to get a leg cramp after 50 meters and that made me run cautiously the rest of the way and I was looking around to see how the others were running,” said Suetsugu, the 200-meter bronze medalist at last year’s World Championships.
“I just want to run comfortably all the way up to the final,” Suetsugu said as he aims to become the first Japanese to appear in the Olympic 100-meter final since Takayoshi Yoshioka finished sixth at the 1932 Los Angeles Games.
Veteran sprinter Asahara topped Heat 6 with a time of 10.33, ahead of Lukasz Chyla of Poland and Eric Pacome N’Dri of Cote d’Ivoire.
“I was nervous but I was able to run relatively well once I got it going. I think I’ll be able to focus more on my race in the second round,” Asahara said.
Tsuchie was eliminated after a fifth-place finish in 10.37 in Heat 5, which was won by Portugal’s Francis Obikwelu in 10.09.
The second-round heats will be held later Saturday.
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