Della Santa qualifies for Sydney
Switzerland's Paolo Della Santa, has qualified for this year's Olympic Games after running the 110 metre hurdles in a time of 13.62 seconds at the Swiss Championships in Lugano.
Despite booking his place for Sydney, Della Santa said he was disappointed not to have won the race, after being beaten into second place by another Swiss athlete, Raphael Monachon. "I wasn't even thinking about the (Olympic) limit," Della Santa insisted. "I just wanted to win in front of my home crowd."
To qualify for Sydney, the Ticinese runner had to meet the Olympic standard twice. Having already achieved the necessary time at the Athletissima meeting in Lausanne, Della Santa was widely expected to repeat the feat in Lugano.
Monachon, who pipped Della Santa by one hundredth of a second, must now beat the limit once more to have any hope of joining his compatriot at the games.
The Swiss championships continue on Sunday, with the men's 400 metres one of the expected highlights. André Bucher, one of Switzerland's best Olympic medal hopes, will defend his Swiss title against the challenges of Laurent Clerc, Alain Rohr and Matthias Rusterholz.
As well as competing against each other, the 400 metres specialists will also be hoping to beat the Olympic standard required to take part in the 4x400 metres relay event. With each runner needing to record a time of 46.20 seconds before next month's deadline, their mission is a difficult one.
Sunday should also see two of Switzerland's biggest names continuing their comeback campaigns. Marcel Schelbert is looking to defend his Swiss 400 metre hurdles title in Lugano after a lengthy injury lay-off. Anita Weyermann is also due to race in the 1,500 metres after suffering similar difficulties off the track.
Both athletes will need rapid returns to form if they are to stand any chance of making it to Sydney in September.
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