TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — "Hurdle god" Chen Kuei-ru (陳奎儒) on Tuesday (Aug. 3) became the first Taiwanese sprinter to qualify for an Olympic semifinal in the 110-meter hurdles in 37 years, but despite a strong finish on Wednesday (Aug. 4), he was unable to qualify for the final.
Chen finished fifth in his heat in the opening round on Tuesday, but because his time of 13.53 seconds was the second-fastest of non-immediate qualifiers, he was eligible to compete in Wednesday's (Aug. 4) semifinal. The last time a Taiwanese hurdler had reached the semifinal was when Wu Chin-jing (吳清錦) competed in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Chen's personal bests of 13.34 seconds in the 110 m-hurdles and 7.81 seconds in the 60-m hurdles are both national records. When asked about his performance after his heat, Chen said that he was "not satisfied" and made it clear that his goal was to reach the final, reported CNA.
In the second semifinal of the day on Wednesday, Chen had a strong start and was even with the frontrunners after the first few hurdles. However, in the final stretch, the favored athletes started to pull away, with Chen coming in sixth at 13:57 seconds.
In his heat, U.S. athlete Devon Allen and France's Aurel Manga took the top two qualifying spots for the final with times of 13:18 and 13:24, respectively. The 8th-place finisher, Japanese hurdler Taio Kanai, took a bad spill in front of one of the hurdles but got up and finished the race.
Although Chen was not able to make it to the final, Taiwanese athletes have raked in 11 medals at the Tokyo Olympics, a national record, including two golds, four silvers, and five bronzes.