Belibasaki Disqualified from Final in Birmingham

Belibasaki Disqualified from Final in Birmingham

Maria Belibasaki thought she had qualified for the 400m final at the 2018 IAAF World Championships in Athletics, only to learn of her subsequent disqualification.

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The Greek sprinter came into today with a personal best of 52.28 in the event, achieved last month at the Greek National Championships in Piraeus. 52.28 made Belibasaki the second-best Greek woman to ever run the indoor 400-meter dash, only behind Athens 2004 gold medalist Fani Halkia (51.68). This was quite an incredible feat for Belibasaki, as she had never competed in 400-meter races until this year, deciding during the off-season to train herself for this event in addition to her usual 200-meter races.

Belibasaki was able to better her personal record today, running 52.27 in the heats to advance to the semifinals. She seemed to have broken that record once again, finishing in second place in her semifinal with a time of 52.17 seconds. Having qualified for the final with the fourth-best time of all competitors, it seemed that she could potentially be a surprise medalist in Birmingham. However, it was later ruled by the judges that she would be disqualified for a lane infringement, after viewing the video replay. Despite the disappointing end, it was a strong showing from Belibasaki, who will likely be a strong performer at this event in the forthcoming years.

Hurdler Elisavet Pesiridou will also leave Birmingham with some feelings of bitterness. She was unable to finish her race in the 60m hurdles after tripping over a hurdle.

Rafailia Spanoudaki made her second appearance in a major competition, having previously competed at the 2017 European Indoor Championships in Belgrade, where she was disqualified for a false start. This time around there was no disqualification and she completed her race with a time of 7.40 seconds in the 60m sprint, which was not enough to qualify for the semifinals.

Teenage sensation Miltiadis Tentoglou also competed today, finishing in ninth place in the long jump. His first two jumps were fouls, and his third was 7.82 meters. This was just shy of finishing in the top 8, which would have given him the chance to jump another three times and potentially move up the standings. Nevertheless, this was a respectable showing from an inexperienced Greek athlete.

Tomorrow will be Greeceโ€™s best chance to win medals, with two women who had won medals in the previous edition of this event competing, Ekaterini Stefanidi in the pole vault and Paraskevi Papachristou in the triple jump. Kostas Douvalidis will also be competing in the 60m hurdles.

by Andrew Stamas
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