TWO Cypriot athletes progressed to the semi-finals of their track events at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.
Eleni Artymata qualified for the semi-finals of the women’s 400 metres, while Milan Trajkovic is also through in the 110-metre hurdles.
Running in the sixth heat, 35-year-old Paralimni native Artymata, competing in her fourth Games after Beijing, London and Rio (where she featured the 200m), ran a time of 51.98.
There were difficult conditions at the Olympic stadium, with heavy rain and high temperatures and humidity.
“The conditions were unbearable. During the rain we did our warm-up and I went to put on overalls and I burned. The humidity soared and the heat was very intense. As far as conditions go, they were some of the most difficult I have encountered,” she said.
“As for my race, I think I did well. I’m happy with the way I ran. Being in lane 9 did not affect me and fortunately I managed to finish exactly at the right time.
“It was my first race in a month and I wanted to see how my body would react. I am generally happy, we will see the race with my coach (Antonis Giannoulakis), we will analyse it and we will prepare for tomorrow. “I believe that I will be more prepared, more relaxed and I hope the conditions are better and they will help me run even faster”, Artymata told the Cyprus Olympic Committee in the mixed zone.
She also said she feels proud and honoured to represent Cyprus for a fourth time at the Olympics, a record for a woman, and feels just as intense as she did the first time in Beijing.
Serbian-born Trajkovic meanwhile is through to the semis at his second straight Games, coming home fourth in his heat in a time of 13.59 – which is his best performance of the year.
Cyprus’ flag-bearer at last Friday’s opening ceremony, Trajkovic was due to take to the track at 5am this morning Cyprus time.
He will be desperate to qualify for the 110-metre final to have a chance of beating his performance at the Rio Games five years ago, where he finished seventh overall.