Tar Heel Selmon begins run at gold in Tokyo on Thursday

By R.L. Bynum

Former UNC star Kenny Selmon begins his run for gold at the Olympics on Thursday in the first round of the 400-meter hurdles at Japan National Stadium in Tokyo on the first day of track and field competition.

The two-time ACC champion in the event will be in lane seven as one of nine runners in heat two of five. His heat is scheduled for 10:33 p.m. ET tonight (11:33 Friday morning Tokyo time) in a race that will air on either USA Network or NBC and stream on NBCOlympics.com.

The conditions will no doubt be challenging given how hot it’s been in Tokyo and the race being run in the late morning.

Selmon, 24, will advance to the semifinals if he finishes in the top four of his heat or has one of the four fastest times among the runners who don’t finish in the top four of their heats. His semifinal race would be Sunday morning Eastern time with the first of three semifinal races scheduled to start at 8:05 (9:05 p.m. Sunday night in Tokyo).

The finals of the event will be Monday at 11:20 p.m. ET (Tuesday at 12:20 p.m. Tokyo time.)

“When I step on the track, it’s all business,” Selmon, who earned a Business Administration degree from UNC, told Yahoo! Sports. “It has to be that way or you won’t get the results you want. If you put too much energy into something and, in my case, it’s track, then it consumes you and the pressure mounts. So, preparation is work hard, play hard.”

Ranked No. 14 in the world, Selmon is favored in his heat with No. 16-ranked Constantin Preis of Germany the next-highest ranked runner.

Selmon’s personal-best time of 48.08 seconds, which is also his best time this season, is the best in his heat. The next-fastest is Jamaica’s Jaheel Hyde (48.18). Pries’ PR is 48.6 seconds.

Selmon’s college-best of 48.12 still is a school record.

The Marbleton, Ga., native made the team by finishing second in the 400-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.

Photo via Selmon’s Instagram account

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