Sprinter Lewis Banda Advances in 400m Dash at Athens Games

Aug. 21, 2004

MAROUSSI, Greece - The running events (athletics) of the 2004 Athens Olympiad got underway Friday night inside Olympic Stadium with a current member of the Arizona State track and field team, Lewis Banda, competing in the 400m dash for Zimbabwe. The junior-to-be for the Sun Devils clocked the eighth-fastest time on the day to advance to the semifinals slated for Saturday.

Banda, the two-time defending Pac-10 Champion in the 400m dash and All-American in the event at the NCAA Championships in early June, finished second in the fifth of eight heats Friday night with a time of 45.37. He was edged at the finish line by heat winner Carlos Santa of the Dominican Republic who ran the full lap in 45.31.

With his finish, Banda advances to the semifinal round slated for Saturday evening. The round will be comprised of three heats with the Top 2 finishers of each heat, along with the next best two times of the remaining runners, advancing to the finals which are scheduled for Monday evening.

The semifinal brings about a familiar match-up as Banda, who will occupy lane 4 in the first heat, will go head-to-head with Jeremy Wariner of Baylor (USA) who will be in lane 3. The two sprinters have raced each other on several occasions during the collegiate season and should add to the strong semifinal field.

Two former Sun Devils will compete in the coming days, led by Dwight Phillips (USA) in the long jump. The owner of the six best jumps in the world this year, Phillips is the gold medal favorite in the long jump event and will look to improve upon his eighth-place finish at the 2000 Summer Games. He will compete in the qualification round Aug. 24 with the finals slated for Aug. 26. Also scheduled to compete is Michael Campbell, who will represent Jamaica in the 4x400m relay.

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