Portia Bing qualifies for 400m hurdles semifinals at world athletics championships

New Zealand's Portia Bing (C), flanked by Shamier Little (L) of Team United States and Linda Olivieri of Team Italy, on her way to qualifying for the world athletics championship 400m semifinals in Oregon.

Steph Chambers/Getty Images

New Zealand’s Portia Bing (C), flanked by Shamier Little (L) of Team United States and Linda Olivieri of Team Italy, on her way to qualifying for the world athletics championship 400m semifinals in Oregon.

Portia Bing has become the first New Zealand woman to qualify for the 400m hurdles semifinals at a world track and field championships.

The 29-year-old was fifth in heat two in Eugene, Oregon on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time) in 55.72sec.

The first four from each of the five heats went through to the semifinals, but Bing qualified as one of the four next-fastest athletes.

Her time ranked her 20th overall in a field led by Tokyo Olympic Games bronze medalist Femke Bol (Holland), who ran 53.90sec from Olympic champion and world record holder Sydney McLaughlin (53.95) and her American compatriot and Tokyo silver medalist Dalilah Muhammad (54.45 ).

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Jamaica’s Janieve Russell, who won Bing’s heat, was fourth-fastest overall in 54.52sec.

Bing’s time was just below her personal best, of 55.44 sec, set in Hastings last March.

But she was delighted at making the next round and, in the process, becoming the first Kiwi in any hurdles event to make it beyond the heats at a global championship for 54 years.

“It was so nerve wracking,” she said. “I didn’t run the perfect race, but that’s alright, I’m just saving it up for the semi, right?”

Her achievement in Eugene made up for her disappointment at Doha world championships in 2019 where she was disqualified for a hurdle infringement.

Portia Bing will represent New Zealand at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.

Portia Bing will represent New Zealand at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

This was the first time Bing, a former specialist heptathlete, had competed at a world championships in the same event,

She said she had “a really rough year after Doha”, but had spent a lot of time on changing her technique in conjunction with her coach so to “make changes nd be better again is always the best feeling.”

Bing was nervous in the leadup to the race, saying she only “nailed the first hurdle” at practice on the eve of her heat.

“Getting that first hurdle is really important, one, because it was the biggest factor in my DQ in Doha, and two, executing the first hurdle correct sets you up for the next part of the race.”

Bing felt she made”a few mistakes” in the second half of the race, but was not impressed because she had a chance to correct those for the semifinal.

She did not watch the next three heats after her race because “you can’t really control what anyone else is doing, you can only control what you d on the day.”

But she was delighted to make the final cut, feeling it confirmed she had made “a lot of progress”.

The sixth-placed hurdler in Bing’s heat, Italy’s Linda Olivieri (56.09sec) also made the semifinal cut.

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