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Armstrong 5th, Zelinka 3rd after day one

Dylan Armstrong

Dylan Armstrong

London, UK – Dylan Armstrong of Kamloops, B.C., placed fifth in the men’s shot put while Jessica Zelinka of London, Ont., sits in third place in the heptathlon after day one of athletics (track and field) at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Armstrong who trains under Anatoliy Bondarchuk had a best mark of 20.93-metres. “It was close, would have been nice to get on the podium. It’s a strong field, having a month off because of my arm set me back.” He adds “I’m going to keep my head up; I’ve had 4th and 5th places at the Olympics, World Championship silver, a Diamond League title, a World lead. I’ll be 35 in Rio so we’ll see about that, I’ll get ready for Moscow (2013 Worlds) and take it from there.” He qualified for the final earlier in the day with a toss of 20.49-metres on his final attempt.

Armstrong’s training partner Justin Rodhe of Kamloops, B.C., also took part in shot put qualifying but was unable to register a mark and did not advance to the evening final.

After the first day of heptathlon Jessica Zelinka sits in third place with 3903 points.  In the 100-metre hurdles she ran a personal best time of 12.65 seconds, she jumped 1.68-metres in high jump, registerrd a season best of 14.81 metres in the shot put and ran the gruelling fourth event of the day in a personal best of 23.32 seconds over 200-metres. “Hurdles were incredible I was in a great place. In the high jump I put a lot of pressure on myself and was over thinking it trying to find that same place. That’s only one of seven events. I came back strong in shot and 200m.”

Brianne Theisen of Humbolt, Sask., is also competing in the heptathlon in this, her first Olympic Games. After day one she sits in 15th place with 3763 points. In the 100-metre hurdles she clocked 13.30 seconds, jumped 1.86-metres in the high jump, tossed a personal best of 12.89-metres in shot put and finished the day off with a time of 24.35 seconds in the 200-metres. “Other than that 200-metres I was happy with it, it’s my first Olympics and I’m learning a lot. I lost my focus a bit; I have to regroup for tomorrow.”

Jenna Martin of Bridgewater, N.S., finished third in her 400-metres heat clocking 51.98 seconds to automatically qualify for tomorrow’s semi final. “At this level it comes down to the finish, I kept pushing, gave everything I had.  I’m going to rest and recover to run my hardest in the semis.” The semi finals take place tomorrow at 20:05 local time (15:05 eastern time).

In the men’s 1500-metres Nate Brennan of Cambridge, Ont., ran a great technical race placing fifth in his heat in 3:39.95 to automatically qualify for Sunday’s semi final. “I’m happy, I ran well the whole way, eased up with 100-metres to go. The plan was to be in the top 6 for the auto qualifier and that’s what I did.”

Alex Genest of Lac-aux-Sables, Que., finished seventh in his heat of the 3000-metres steeple chase with a seasonal best of 8:22.62 but did not advance to the final. “I am so happy, I ran a great race, did exactly what I wanted to do. Just missed on time, I was right there, I have to be happy.”

Pickering, Ont’s Kerri-Ann Mitchell finished sixth in her 100-metres heat in 11.49 seconds, she will not advance into the semi finals. “I wanted to run a personal best, it didn’t happen but I was close. I wish I could have done better but this is just the beginning for me.” She adds,” I’m still really new to sprinting, there’s a lot to clean up technically which will take my times down and that’s exciting.”

Jim Steacy of Lethbridge, Alta., did not register a mark in men’s hammer throw qualifying and did not advance to Sunday’s final.

Canadians in action on day 2

Three Canadians will take part in finals tomorrow. Inaki Gomez of Vancouver, B.C., in the men’s 20-kilometre race walk at 15:00 local time (12:00 eastern time). Mohammed Ahmed of St. Catharines, Ont., and Cameron Levins of Black Creek, B.C., will line up in the men’s 10,000-metres at 21:15 local time (16:15 eastern time).

In the morning session Daundre Barnaby of Brampton, Ont., and Melanie Blouin of Quebec, Que., will be looking to advance out of the men’s 400-metre heats and women’s pole vault qualification. Blouin goes at 10:20 (05:20 eastern time) in group b qualifying. Barnaby lines up in heat two of the 400-metres at 10:43 local time (05:43 eastern time)