Atkins, Miller qualify for semifinals in LondonLONDON — Dickinson State alumni Derrick Atkins and Ramon Miller each finished second in their respective heats Saturday morning during the Summer Olympics at Olympic Stadium. Their finishes qualified the Bahamas sprinters for Sunday's semifinals.
LONDON — Dickinson State alumni Derrick Atkins and Ramon Miller had to fight for it, but each finished advanced to the semifinals of their respective events Saturday morning during the Summer Olympics.
The Bahamas sprinters both finished second in their respective heats, each advancing on photo finishes.
Atkins ran a time of 10.22 seconds in the 100 meters while Miller clocked a 45.57 time in the 400.
Atkins, competing in the first round of the 100, finished runner-up to Justin Gatlin of the United States, who won in 9.97 seconds.
Atkins, who reached the semifinals of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 but had to fight his way back to London following two years defined by injuries, cracked a wide smile and waved to fans as his name was announced at Olympic Stadium.
As Gatlin pulled away from the field, Atkins found himself in a chase for second against Trinidad and Tobago's Rondel Sorrillo (10.23), Poland's Dariusz Kuc (10.24) and Brazil's Nilson Andre (10.26). The stadium's photo-finish cameras showed Atkins' torso had crossed the finish line just ahead of Sorrillo and Kuc.
As he walked off the track, cameras caught Atkins cracking another smile as he looked at the finishers list on a scoreboard.
"One down 2 too (sic) go!!!" Atkins posted on his Facebook page Saturday morning.
Miller had to fight for his trip to the semifinals.
The 12-time NAIA champion used a strong kick in the final 50 meters of his 400 preliminary heat to clock in at 45.57 seconds.
He finished second to Grenada's Kirani James (45.23) and came all the way back from fifth to edge third-place finisher Liemarvin Bonevacia by three-hundredths of a second and beat fourth-place finisher Isaac Makwela by one-tenth of a second. The top three advance to the semifinals.
Miller posted a Facebook comment following the race Saturday indicating the race wasn't as strong as he hoped it would be.
"Now that the cobwebs are out. Let's get this show started. Running by Faith!" he wrote.
Atkins' semifinal heat begin at 12:45 p.m. MDT Sunday. He is up against Jamaica's Yohan Blake, the favorite to win gold, and American Tyson Gay, who defeated Atkins for the gold at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan.
Miller, one of three Bahamas sprinters to reach the 400 semifinals, is scheduled to race again at 1:40 p.m. MDT Sunday. His heat includes World Junior champion Luguelín Santos of the Dominican Republic and Belgium's Kevin Borlee, the bronze medalist at the 2011 World Championships.
To watch replays of the races or to watch Atkins and Miller live Sunday, visit www.nbcolympics.com.
DSU alumnus Trevor Barry, a Bahamas high jumper, is scheduled to compete in the preliminaries that begin at 2:05 p.m. MDT Sunday. Barry is the second of two groups of 18 jumpers, meaning he likely won't start until closer to 3 p.m.