Swiss medal hopeful André Bucher just scraped through to the 800 metre semi-finals at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Lisbon on Friday.
Bucher, holder of the world's best time in the race last season, came third in his qualifying heat, recording a time of 1:47.88, behind first-placed Pawel Czapiewski (1:47.75) from Poland and France's Florent Lacasse (1:47.82).
Only the top two runners of each heat are guaranteed a place in the semi-finals. Bucher qualified as one of the fastest third-place runners up.
"It just wasn't my day," said Bucher after the race. "It wasn't until near the end of the race that I noticed the other two pulling ahead, but by then it was too late."
Switzerland's Alain Rohr failed to make it past the qualifying heats in the 400 metre race, only managing fifth place with a time of 47.62, 1.05 seconds off his personal best this season.
Rohr, who hails from Bern, was optimistic in defeat: "I'd like to make a comeback at the European Indoor Athletics Championships next winter."
"I now realise that I have to train harder to become faster," he said, "if I'm going to stand a chance of winning the race."
The 1500 metre runner Peter Philipp also missed out on a place in the semi-finals, finishing seventh in his qualifying heat with a time of 3:40.93, three seconds off the heat winner, Spain's Reyes Estevez, and over two seconds off the Swiss indoor record of 3:38.86.
swissinfo with agencies