Lucerne's André Bucher is looking in good shape for a medal at the world indoor athletics championships in Lisbon, after winning his 800 metres semi-final heat in convincing fashion.
"After this race I should be able to win a medal in the final," said the 24-year-old runner after crossing the line more than two tenths of a second ahead of Botswana's Glody Dube.
The only man to run faster than Bucher on Saturday was Russia's Yuriy Borzakovskiy, holder of this year's fastest indoor time over 800 metres. The Russian won the first heat of the evening in 1'46"84, exactly two tenths of a second quicker than the Swiss runner.
Bucher's performance in the semi-final was in stark contrast to his showing in the first heat, when he only managed to scrape through in third place.
"I have had a bad run and a good run," Bucher reflected on Saturday. "But what matters is that I'm in the final."
Bucher is aiming to win what would be only his second medal at a major tournament, following his silver medal success at the European Championships in 1998. Despite recording the fastest 800 metres time in the world last season, Bucher could only manage a disappointing fifth place at the Olympics.
A medal for Bucher in Sunday's final would also end a poor sequence of results for Swiss athletes at the world indoor championships. The previous seven tournaments have yielded just seven Swiss medals, the last of which came in 1993.
swissinfo with agencies