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Aug. 17, 2009

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BERLIN – Following rising junior Johnny Dutch’s performance for the American men’s team in the 400-meter hurdles, a duo of former Gamecock women also stepped up to the task Monday as Lashinda Demus and Tiffany Ross-Williams both advanced to the semifinals of the women’s 400-meter hurdles at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin.

Demus came into the meet as the world leader in the event with a time of 52.63, and the 2009 United States champion showed why she is the favorite to win the gold after placing first overall in the first round Monday with a time of 54.66. Running in the fifth heat, she finished one second faster than the next qualifier in her heat to easily earn an automatic bid to Tuesday’s semifinal.

“I tried to do what my coach told me to do, but I went away from it,” Demus said. “My coach told me to run the first 300 meters hard, but I didn’t quite do that because I thought I would be wasting energy, so I slowed down earlier than I wanted to.”

Ross-Williams, a 2008 Olympic finalist and U.S. Olympic Trials champion, took second in the fourth heat and placed fifth overall with her time of 55.25 to automatically advance. Ross-Williams entered the meet with the world’s ninth-fastest time this year at 54.50.

“My goal was just to make it to the next round,” Ross-Williams said. “My steps were just a little bit off, so I’m going to talk to my coach and work things out for the next round. Normally I switch (lead) legs at hurdle 6, but I switched at 5, so my steps were just a little bit off.”

The semifinal will begin at 2:15 p.m. EST Tuesday in a race that falls in the television broadcast window held by Versus. Ross-Williams will run in lane five of the second heat, and Demus will run in lane six of the third heat. The top two in each heat will automatically advance, and the next two fastest times overall will also earn bids to Thursday’s final.

110m Hurdles – Terrence Trammell
Heats: Wednesday, August 19 – 5:35 a.m. EST (Heat TBA)
Semifinal: Thursday, August 20 – 12:15 p.m. EST
Final: Thursday, August 20 – 2:55 p.m. EST

400m Hurdles – Johnny Dutch & Jussi Heikkila

Heats: Saturday, August 15 – Dutch 49.38 (3rd heat, 11th overall), Heikkila 51.42 (8th heat, 24th overall)
Semifinal: Sunday, August 16 – Dutch 49.28 (6th heat, 12th overall)


400m Hurdles – Lashinda Demus & Tiffany Ross-Williams
Heats: Monday, August 17 – Heats: Monday, August 17 – Demus 54.66 (1st heat, 1st overall), Ross-Williams 55.25 (2nd heat, 5th overall)
Semifinal: Tuesday, August 18 – 2:15 p.m. EST
Final: Thursday, August 20 – 2:15 p.m. EST

4x100m Relay – Shalonda Solomon & Aleen Bailey
Heats: Saturday, August 22 – 12:10 p.m. EST (Heats TBA)
Final: Saturday, August 22 – 2:00 p.m. EST

4x400m Relay – Natasha Hastings
Heats: Saturday, August 22 – 2:15 p.m. EST (Heats TBA)
Final: Sunday, August 23 – 11:50 a.m. EST

The 2009 World Championships will be broadcast in the United States daily on NBC and Versus. The broadcast schedule is as follows. All times Eastern; subject to change; check local listings.

August 17: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Versus
August 18: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Versus
August 19: 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. Versus
August 20: 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Versus
August 21: 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Versus
August 22: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. NBC

August 23: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. NBC