Costa Rica’s Olympic highlight finally came in Rio, better late than never.
Sprinter Nery Brenes ran a time of 20.20 seconds in the first round of the 200-meter dash Tuesday to win his heat and set the all-time Costa Rican record. Brenes now classifies for the semifinals, where he could find himself up against the sport’s greatest figure, Usain Bolt.
The 29-year-old Olympic veteran Brenes was on a rampant pace coming into these Summer Games, and earlier qualified for the semifinals of his preferred race, the 400-meter dash. However, Brenes came in sixth place in his semifinal heat and failed to qualify for the final.
Brenes’ qualifying time Tuesday in the 200-meter was actually .08 seconds faster than Bolt, who just won gold in the 100-meter dash for the third consecutive time in the Olympics, although the Jamaican star seemed to bring himself to a jog well before the finish line.
Brenes, who’s from Limón, had the eighth fastest time of any runner in the 200-meter in Tuesday’s qualifying heats.
Up against the world’s best sprinters in the semifinals, Brenes will need to shave about .20 seconds from his Tuesday time to have a shot at qualifying for the 200-meter finals.
The first of the three semifinal heats begins Wednesday at 7 p.m. Costa Rica time.