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UK's Thomas moves on in Beijing; Acevedo is out

BEIJING — Knowing what to do is one thing.

Doing, that's another thing.

Two University of Kentucky seniors can tell you both sides of the story from their personal experiences Monday at the Beijing Olympics.

Mikel Thomas and Jose Acevedo knew they would need to do their best.

Thomas, competing for Trinidad and Tobago, did exactly that in the men's 110-meter hurdles, advancing to the second round at National Stadium (the Bird's Nest). The top four in each of six heats, plus the next eight fastest finishers, moved to the quarterfinals.

Thomas took sixth in his heat, but in a snappy 13.69. That was good enough.

“I was definitely in the mix. It wasn't as clean as what I would have liked for the end — hit the last hurdle, kind of made me stumble to the line,” Thomas said before he knew whether he was in or out of the next round. “But I feel I ran a decent time. If I go through as the fastest qualifier, tomorrow I'll definitely take care of business.”

Acevedo, running for Venezuela, was knocked out in the first round of the 200.

“I'm kind of (mad) because I was supposed to run close to my (best) time, around 20.5,” Acevedo said. “But that was the heat winner; that was the time he ran. I could do better, but it doesn't happen all the time.

“Sometimes your body doesn't respond the way you want it to respond. But it's the first time I've come to an Olympic Games and I'm pretty sure I will be (back) for the next one in London.”

Thomas ran in a heat that included U.S. champion David Oliver.

“I beat (Oliver) to the first four, so if this was indoors it would have been a great race,” Thomas said. “But I'm happy for my experience. I'm proud of my performance. Can't keep my head down at all. Head's up.”

Thomas, who holds the UK hurdles record of 13.57, called his opening round “a great experience, a great atmosphere, a great competition. It's a total blessing to even be here, to come up and perform and represent everyone and everything I stand for to the best of my ability.”

Acevedo went up against Beijing 100-meter champion and world record-holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica.

Running out of lane seven, Acevedo was aware of Bolt in lane four, as well as Rondell Sorillo of Trinidad and Tobago in lane six.

“Of course I was nervous. He races really hard,” Acevedo said of Bolt. “It's a really big challenge for this year. It has been (many) ups and downs. But at the end I am pretty satisfied with my performance.”

Sorillo pulled away to win in 20.58. Knowing that the top three in each heat automatically advance, Bolt ran leisurely in 20.64. Acevedo finished fifth in the heat, tied with China's Zhang Peimeng for 42nd overall, in 21.06.

Both Thomas and Acevedo say they plan to be around for the London Olympics in 2012.

“Definitely, definitely hopes and dreams of mine,” Thomas said, “that this is only the beginning. I'm still young.”

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