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Valencia resident Neville makes 400-meter finals

Sprinter finishes second in heat (44.91) to advance

Posted: August 19, 2008 9:06 p.m.
Updated: October 21, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 

Valencia resident David Neville, who trained in the city and in Los Angeles, will move on to run for Olympic glory.

On Thursday at the National Stadium in Beijing, he will have a shot at winning a medal.

Neville finished with a qualifying time of 44.91 seconds in the men's 400-meter dash semifinal heat. For the second consecutive day, he was second in his heat to Leslie Djhone of France, who had a time of 44.79 seconds.

"It feels great," Neville said. "I've always wanted to run in the Olympic finals, and now I get to do it."

In Thursday's finals, the native of Merrillville, Ind. will repeat the same procedure he had to go through in order to qualify to run in the Olympic Games.

Since Neville's time was ninth out of as many runners who will compete in the medal round, he will have to run in Lane 9, the farthest to the outside. For the most part, medalists normally run in the middle lanes, 3 through 5.

Earlier this summer, in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore., Neville qualified as the third and final member for Team USA in the 400. Running from the farthest outside lane, he led after 300 meters, but was passed up during the final 80 meters by Jeremy Wariner and LaShawn Merritt.

"That's what I had to do last time, I'll have to do it again," Neville said. "It'll make me get out on my first 300 meters. My last 100 meters (on Tuesday) was great. I ran and executed everything the right way. I hope to do the same in the finals."

Neville has been competing with a sore Achilles tendon, but it has not fazed him that much.

"The Achilles is doing pretty good," Neville said. "It just gets sore afterward. I should be fine by Thursday."

Neville went into the Olympics with the fourth-fastest time in the world, behind teammates Wariner and Merritt, both of whom finished first in their heats in Tuesday's semifinals.

The finals are scheduled for 6:20 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Thursday, 9:20 p.m. in Beijing. The event will be broadcast on NBC's primetime Olympic coverage Thursday night.

"I have to execute my race," Neville said. "If I do everything I'm supposed to do, I'll be fine. That's the plan, is going out there and win a medal."

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