Defending U.S. champion still aiming for 2012 Olympics
Billy Nelson’s quest for a medal in the world track and field championships being held in South Korea ended Monday when he failed to qualify for the finals in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
The 2002 Taft High graduate who made the 2008 U.S. Olympic team to earn a trip to Beijing finished last in his heat with a disappointing time of 8:51.20.
Nelson won the U.S. championship in 8:28.46 and has a personal best of 8:17.27 this summer on Monaco.
It was a disappointing day for the entire U.S. contingent in the steeplechase.
Daniel Hulig and Ben Bruce finished ninth in their heats and failed to qualify for the finals, which will be run on Thursday.
The top four in each heat plus the next three fastest times qualify for the finals.
Ugandans Jacob Araptany and Benjamin Kiplagat won two of the heats and Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya won the other heat with the best time of 8:10.93.
Nelson’s other big win this track season was at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational held at Stanford University in 8:22.44.
That set the stage for his triumph in the U.S. championships, his greatest success since turning professional.
Nelson is sponsored by New Balance.
Despite the setback in the worlds, Nelson is pointing to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.