Vietnamese Quách Thị Lan (right) competes in the women's 400m hurdles heat together with USA's Sydney McLaughlin, Denmark's Sara Slott Petersen and Panama's Gianna Woodruff (from left to right) during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 31. AFP/VNA Photo
HÀ NỘI — Quách Thị Lan has made Olympic history after she advanced to the women’s 400m hurdles semi-finals this morning in Tokyo.
The Vietnamese runner placed fifth in Heat 3 of qualifications with a time of 55.71 seconds. It is her seasonal best but did not initially allow her to enter semi-finals.
However, after Jamaican Leah Nugent was disqualified for a lane infringement error, Lan was promoted to fourth place and secured her next round slot.
Lan is the first Vietnamese representative to compete in an athletic semi-finals at any Games.
“My coach asked me to be comfortable during the run and I was," said Lan whose idol Sydney McLaughlin was in same heat and finished first with a time of 54.65 seconds.
"Competing against the world's leading runners including Sydney is a great experience.
“It is one of two best results that I have made in career. The best one was 55.30 seconds that helped me win gold medal from the 2018 Asian Games.”
Lan added that she felt exciting chasing McLaughlin during the race.
She is among 24 athletes in the semi-finals which will take place on August 2 at the Tokyo Olympics Stadium. Lan is the only Asian representative.
She will receive a US$830 bonus from the Việt Nam Athletics Federation as promised if she earned semi-finals slot, and a grant of $1,000 from M&C Group, a corporation run by Vietnamese general director Tạ Thị Quỳnh Liên who is also a volunteer at the Olympics.
“I made technical mistakes in the last two hurdles," she added.
"I will fix it and do better in the semis. Running as one of 24 best athletes at Olympics is an honour. It is a chance to learn and perfect my abilities.” VNS