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July 10, 2008

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – Gamecocks Antonio Sales and Johnny Dutch qualified for their respective finals as competition continued Thursday at the 12th IAAF World Junior Championships being held at Zawisza Stadium in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Dutch enjoyed a strong semifinal round after winning his heat and running the second-fastest time of the day in the 400-meter hurdles to advance to Friday’s final. Dutch ran a 50.40 as he and fellow American Jeshua Anderson, the top two ranked Junior hurdlers in the world, claimed the top two spots in the event.

“I’m looking forward to having a good final,” Dutch said. “Hopefully me and my teammate (American Jeshua Anderson) can finish in the top two so we can take that victory lap.”

The final will be run at 12:30 p.m. EST (6:30 p.m. local time) Friday as Dutch looks to become the first Gamecock man to medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the international competition since Kenneth Ferguson earned the silver medal in 2002.

“Running the rounds at the Olympics Trials has helped me tremendously here,” Dutch said. “Now I’m a little more relaxed and confident coming into each race. I’m just trying to have fun out here.”

Sales finished third in his heat of the 200-meter dash to qualify for Friday’s final. His time of 20.90 tied for the fourth-fastest time in the semifinal round. Sales began the day when he finished first in his heat at 21.27 to run the sixth-fastest time of the qualifying round in the 200-meter dash. The 200-meter dash final will begin at 1:55 p.m. EST (7:55 p.m. local time) as the final event on the fourth day of competition.

Sales, who recovered Thursday after getting disqualified in Wednesday’s 100-meter semifinal with a false start, is also scheduled to compete Friday as a member of the USA 4×100-meter relay team. The qualifying race is scheduled for 11:55 a.m. EST (5:55 p.m. local time).

“I wanted to get the jitter bugs out after false starting in the 100,” Sales said. “I’ve been trying to get that out of my mind. So I came into the 200 staying relaxed and wanted to just run my race. I’m taking it one round at a time. You have to be like a quarterback sometimes when it comes to those type situations. You have to have amnesia sometimes and not dwell on it. It was a blessing that I had the 200 to run here after the 100. I guess everything happens for a reason. With my schedule I would have to run three rounds of the 100, three rounds of the 200 and two rounds of the 4 x 100. So instead I got a day off yesterday. Now I’m back in the 200 and feel a little fresher.”

Two other current Gamecocks return to the track Friday as Outdoor All-Americans Shayla Mahan and Gabby Glenn are set to compete for the USA in the 4×100-meter relay. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. EST (5:30 p.m. local time). Incoming freshman Booker Nunley will also hit the track Friday as he attempts to advance in the 110-meter hurdles.