Roberts cruises to Olympic 400m semifinals - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Roberts cruises to Olympic 400m semifinals

Gil Roberts (Source: TTU Athletics) Gil Roberts (Source: TTU Athletics)

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

Texas Tech track & field record holder Gil Roberts made his Olympic debut on Friday night at Olympic Stadium in Rio, competing in the first round of the 400-meter dash.

Running out of lane seven in the first heat, Roberts got off to his patented fast start, putting up a reaction time of 0.168. He made up the split on lane eight and moved ahead of the group within the first 100 meters, and paced well through the middle of the race for a strong final 100m, sitting even with the lead. On the last stretch, Roberts picked it up his pace and let up at the line, placing second at 45.27 to automatically advance to Saturday's semifinal.

"I felt great," Roberts said. "The first round is generally the toughest one. You never know what to expect, whether to go hard or go easy. You have to go as easy as you can, but still get a qualifier. You never know what everyone else is going to do. In a final, you know what to expect. Everyone is all out, you know what everyone is going to do. In prelims, some people go all out, some people are saving. It's a judgement game."

When Roberts exploded out of the blocks, he became the ninth Red Raider track & field standout to compete at the Olympic Games in the school's history. He is the only Tech athlete to ever compete in the open 400 meters at the Olympics.

"I have more in the tank, lots more," Roberts said. "I got in relatively smooth, relatively easy, so I'm happy about that. I lived to see another day."

That day comes on Saturday at 6:44 p.m., when Roberts will run in lane four of heat three, knowing exactly what he needs to do to advance to the medal race on Sunday.

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